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Boosting Business with New Medicinal Cannabis Regulations

by | Jul 8, 2024

At Ora Pharm, we are thrilled about the recent changes to New Zealand’s Medicinal Cannabis Scheme announced by the Ministry of Health. These updates mark a significant milestone for our industry and pave the way for expanded opportunities in both economic and research sectors while keeping the high quality and product standard needed by patients.

Key Changes to the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme

The recent regulatory updates bring several notable improvements that will benefit our business and the broader medicinal cannabis industry:

  1. Broadened Cannabis Plant Forms: The types of cannabis plant forms that qualify as ‘starting material’ and ‘cannabis-based ingredients’ have been expanded. This change allows us greater flexibility in the products we develop and the raw materials we use.
  2. Export Opportunities: We can now export cannabis seeds under the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme. Additionally, starting material, cannabis-based ingredients, and medicinal cannabis products can be exported for testing, analysis, or research without needing to meet the minimum quality standard. This opens up new markets and collaboration opportunities for Ora Pharm.
  3. Import Flexibility: Similar to export regulations, the import of cannabis-based ingredients and medicinal cannabis products for testing, analysis, or research no longer requires adherence to the minimum quality standard. This facilitates the acquisition of diverse materials for our R&D efforts.
  4. Quality Standard Adjustments: The requirement for consignments of starting material to meet the minimum quality standard before export has been removed. Cannabis-based ingredients and medicinal cannabis products manufactured to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and meeting the importing country’s quality requirements can now be exported without needing to meet New Zealand’s minimum quality standard.
  5. Support for Non-Therapeutic Research: Licences to possess controlled drugs for non-therapeutic research activities using medicinal cannabis or industrial hemp are now authorized. This enables more comprehensive research and development initiatives within our facilities.
  6. Technical and Quality Updates: Several minor technical changes have been made to update and clarify the minimum quality standard. These include updated pesticide requirements, broader permitted pharmacopeial tests, excipients and container material requirements, expanded laboratory accreditation requirements, and reduced duplicative testing areas.

Impact on Ora Pharm

These regulatory changes are a game-changer for Ora Pharm. By providing greater flexibility in product development and quality control, we can innovate more freely and respond more effectively to market demands. The ability to export and import cannabis materials for research and testing significantly enhances our capacity to collaborate internationally and improve our product offerings.

Looking Ahead

At Ora Pharm, we are committed to leveraging these regulatory updates to their fullest potential. We believe these changes will not only boost our business but also contribute positively to the entire medicinal cannabis industry in New Zealand.

Stay tuned for more updates on how we plan to harness these new opportunities to deliver high-quality, innovative medicinal cannabis products.

For more detailed information on the regulatory changes, please visit the Ministry of Health’s official guidance.

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