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Is it now legal for me to grow or smoke my own cannabis for medicinal purposes?

We’re not lawyers, but what we do know is that Cannabis, even if it’s grown for medical properties, is still illegal to grow in New Zealand. Under the proposed referendum, residents will be able to grow cannabis for recreational or medical purposes. The law is still being finalised but common sense rules will surely apply like; homegrown can’t be given to minors, must be on private property and must be out of sight. 

Who can access medicinal cannabis products?

New Zealand patients seeking to use cannabis, THC or any other cannabinoid therapy must have a prescription from a doctor. Since this is a new development for New Zealand medical providers, and cannabis is still scheduled as a drug, it can be difficult to find a doctor that is open to a discussion regarding Cannabis and health. 

Dr. Graham Gulbransen is an example of a New Zealand based doctor that was trained in America for Cannabis therapies and is also an addiction specialist. He has been successfully and legally prescribing cannabis prescriptions for chronic pain, cancer symptioms, anxiety, chronic insomnia and neurological conditions since 2017.

My doctor doesn’t think medicinal cannabis is the right treatment for me. Should I get a second opinion?

Until we head to medical school we leave the diagnoses to the doctors, but it’s always worth having a conversation with a licensed “green doctor” if you think medical cannabis could benefit you. As regulations relax around cannabis, it is suspected that more doctors will be open to issuing cannabis prescriptions. Cannabis is mostly helpful if you are considering an alternative to synthetic pharmaceuticals, but don’t ask us, thats a job for your doctor and pharmacist. 

What is the cost of medical cannabis?

One of the key points made by The New Zealand Drug foundation is that legalising Cannabis in the 2020 referendum will reduce the cost for medical patients because currently most cannabis medicine has to be imported from overseas. Naturally, importing medicine drives the cost up for patients. For example an imported bottle of CBD can cost upwards of $200 NZD, whereas a bottle of CBD in American shops retails for about $60. New Zealand grown cannabis also has the added benefit of a shorter supply chain which allows patients access to more medicine in less time and for cheaper. 

I have found medicinal cannabis products available online. Are these products legal?

Unless you’re internet surfing the drug alleyways “dark web”, what you probably found is hemp products proclaiming the positive effects of cannabinoids like CBD. This is where things get tricky because hemp derived medicines, including ones labeled CBD, are currently legal in New Zealand. These are easy to spot because they’ll have very little THC.

Did you find something with THC in it or is “Full spectrum”? Before you go ordering from a already legalised country check the THC levels. THC is the key for legality, if it is over .5%, then it is considered having the potential for a psychoactive effect and is illegal for New Zealand, which means if you order that for Nan’s insomnia she might get a visit from the cops. 

Can I drive while being treated with medicinal cannabis?

Easy answer-No. No. No. Medical cannabis is considered medical usually because it has the potential for a psychoactive effect or a “high”. Even if the New Zealand 2020 referendum on cannabis passes, it will still be illegal to operate a motorised vehicle under the influence of cannabis, regardless of medical or recreational use. Be safe and enjoy being pain free at home. 

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