Topics: Health, Politics

Medicinal cannabis bill 'step in the right direction' - East Coast hemp grower

By Talisa Kupenga

A spokesman for the East Coast company vying to be the country's first medicinal cannabis growing operation says he expects the government to announce more access to medicinal cannabis for importers and the chronically ill.

The government will introduce its bill around medicinal cannabis at Parliament tomorrow.

Hikurangi Enterprises Spokesman Manu Caddie expects laws around access to medicinal cannabis to be relaxed.

"I expect they will allow access to medical cannabis approved products for people with chronic illness and life-threatening diseases, and probably some greater access in terms of importing processes and there may be some opportunity for GPs to be able to prescribe more products," says Caddie.

Hikurangi Enterprises is in discussions with the Ministry of Health to potentially become the country's first licenced medicinal cannabis growing operation.

But Caddie is not holding his breath for a domestic production provision when the bill is introduced tomorrow.

Caddie says, "I think it would be more focused on trying to improve the importing of actual products and we're looking at some opportunities in that space as well to ensure there are more affordable products in New Zealand- while we're in the process of developing our own."

While the exact details of the government's bill were unknown, Caddie expects it would be more likely to pass than the Green Party's member’s bill which would allow the terminally ill to grow and consume their own cannabis.

"Personal growing is a minefield in terms of legislation and regulations so it makes sense to leave that out for now and focus on getting high quality, affordable, consistent products to patients as quickly as possible.  That's why we would like to see some domestic provisions in there for local productions.”

The prime minister expects the bill will be debated and passed within the next year.