Medicinal Cannabis in New Zealand – An Overview for Getting Started

Medicinal Cannabis in New Zealand – An Overview for Getting Started

Medicinal cannabis is a relatively new market and there are ways for you to get involved in the different elements of manufacturing medicinal cannabis products. The first thing that needs to be done is to apply for a Medicinal Cannabis Licence which is issued by the Medicinal Cannabis Agency. This is a lengthy process and requires the applicant to have given their project consideration in certain areas.

Before applying for a licence an applicant must secure a suitable location which has adequate security arrangements. This is to ensure that cultivators do not spread their cannabis beyond the confines of their location and that there is a minimal risk of cannabis and cannabis products being diverted to illicit use. Each location must show where the applicant proposes to grow, manufacture, test or store its cannabis and cannabis products. The Medicinal Cannabis Agency will undertake an inspection of each location listed in the application to check the adequacy of the applicants security arrangements.

An individual or an entity can obtain a licence. The applicant must live in New Zealand or, in the case of a body corporate, be incorporated in New Zealand. The key eligibility requirement is having the expertise and resources to comply with the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Regulations which impose a minimum quality standard, testing limits and other obligations on licenceholders. These regulations are quite rigorous and detailed but we can assist you in ensuring your compliance with them.

Once a location has been organised the applicant can submit an application to conduct one or more of the following types of licensed activity:

• A cultivation activity

• A nursery activity

• A research activity

• A possession for manufacture activity

• A supply activity

Each activity has its own fee structure as well as specific application requirements.

The holder of a Medicinal Cannabis Licence has strict requirements according to the activity they are undertaking. It would pay to familiarise yourself with these as much as possible before you apply so as to understand the scope of the project and to best equip yourself to meet such requirements. We are happy to assist with any aspect of your application or answer any of your queries that you may have.

For any enquiries contact:

Ben Lenihan on (021) 519 175 ( or

Will Everton on (021) 083 88346 (

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© McVeagh Fleming 2020

This article is published for general information purposes only.  Legal content in this article is necessarily of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice.  If you require specific legal advice in respect of any legal issue, you should always engage a lawyer to provide that advice.