1 Oct 2021

Big change to medicinal cannabis - Why are stocks being destroyed?

From Nine To Noon, 9:09 am on 1 October 2021
Mark Hotu (L) & Mitch Cuevas (R)

Mark Hotu (L) & Mitch Cuevas (R) Photo: Supplied, 123 RF

Importers of medicinal cannabis products say they've been left in the ridiculous position of having to destroy perfectly good stock, while patients needing their usual medicine will - from today - need it directly imported for them.

Yesterday marked the end of an extended transitional period for medicinal cannabis products to be supplied without a product assessment, and any unapproved products left on the shelves must be destroyed.

Just four products made by international company Tilray have managed to meet the stringent minimum quality standards that came into effect in April 2020.

Kathryn speaks to Mitch Cuevas, Pharmaceutical Director at Eqalis in the Bay of Plenty, which is still waiting on certification from Medsafe to produce medicinal cannabis products here and is in the process of destroying existing stock they have in the country.  

She'll also talk to Dr Mark Hotu, co-founder of Green Doctors, the largest clinic specialising in medicinal marijuana who's been fielding hundreds of calls and emails from worried patients.