The first medical cannabis summit in New Zealand will take place next year in Auckland
The summit, called MedCan 2020, is open to everyone, people will learn about medical cannabis from local and international health professionals, academics, researchers and patients. An advisory group composed of representatives from the Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Employment and the Crown Entity Callaghan Innovation was formed on this occasion.
Organized by biotechnology company BIOTechNZ, MedCan 2020 will be held on 19 next March at the SkyCity Auckland Convention Center.
BIOTechNZ Executive Director Zahra Champion said the summit would give stakeholders an opportunity to learn about the cannabis trade, global markets, technologies and international research.
"Medical cannabis is attracting significant investment in New Zealand and will create new skills, so knowledge and collaboration are essential," said Champion.
"Cannabis-based medicines have tremendous potential for improving people's quality of life, fueling economic growth, and contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to the country's export earnings.
The founder of the summit is the medical cannabis company Helius Therapeutics.
Managing Director Paul Manning said the event would help launch and inspire this new industry in the country.
In December 2018, the Government passed the law on medical cannabis.
The bill was passed with the support of Labor, Greens and NZ First.
Legislation provided legal protection that allowed people close to death in palliative care to consume cannabis legally without fear of prosecution. This was a transitional mechanism until the full program for cannabis for medical purposes was in place.
This program made the process of obtaining cannabis easier by allowing pharmacies to sell regulated products, and doctors could prescribe medical cannabis.
At the time, Health Minister David Clark said he was "pleased" with the passage of the bill.
"This is the most progressive legislation on medicinal cannabis that has ever been passed by Parliament," said Clark.
"We are doing things to make sure that supply will become more available and affordable over time, and we are taking a compassionate step in the meantime to provide a defense to those who use illicit cannabis and who are in the last stages of their life.
According to the Ministry of Health, New Zealand's Medicinal Cannabis Scheme is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2020, with regulations adopted by December of this year.