Is Marijuana Legal In New Zealand?
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In New Zealand, marijuana is acceptable for medical purposes. But, it is forbidden for recreational purposes. To access marijuana for medical purposes, patients need a prescription.

There are strict rules in New Zealand. These rules make it challenging for many people to access cannabis for medical purposes.

Patients must follow these guidelines in order to legally purchase cannabis products for therapeutic use. Even a small amount of possession may result in fines of up to $500 under New Zealand law.

New Zealand’s Medical Marijuana Laws

The Medical Cannabis Agency in New Zealand now has authority over the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The government set regulations on what goods are available, how medical marijuana can be obtained, and what formulations are allowed or prohibited.

It is rare to get approval for cannabis products from the government in New Zealand. Before 2021, the people of New Zealand had to import cannabis.

Industrial hemp is permitted in New Zealand under the Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Regulations of 2006, if it is grown by a licensed producer and has a THC content of less than 0.35%.

Outside of New Zealand’s rigorous legal framework, all cannabis products—aside from CBD and Sativex—are classified as Class B1 banned substances. Only those with terminal illnesses or multiple sclerosis spasticity are eligible for treatment with these drugs.

Cannabis and other Class B illicit narcotics are subject to more severe penalties for possession, production, sale, and use.

A lifetime in prison is the maximum penalty for allegations of cultivation and trafficking.

Regrettably, there is currently no clear direction for cannabis legalization and legislation reform in New Zealand.

Voters rejected a measure that would have legalized cannabis for recreational use starting in 2020. However, a New Zealand survey conducted the same year as the 2020 election indicated that while 80% of respondents supported medicinal marijuana use, only 26.8% supported cannabis use for recreational purposes.

What New Zealanders Should Know About Medical Cannabis

New Zealand Has Legalised Medical Marijuana

Those who live in New Zealand can purchase legal cannabis products with a doctor’s prescription.

When prescribing a medication, the doctor must be specific about the precise product brand, type, dosage, and ailment for which it is being used. It should be noted that prescriptions for THC-containing cannabis are only valid for patients with terminal illnesses or those seeking to treat MS spasticity.

All other patients may only purchase medication with a prescription and may only utilize Sativex or CBD products.

Only one prescription for a three-month supply of cannabis can be given to a patient at a time.

Only Certain Medical Marijuana Products Are Allowed

Only CBD products and Sativex are recognized prescription-only cannabis products for medical use. Only patients with terminal conditions or those seeking treatment for MS spasticity may be prescribed higher THC products. Such goods consist of:

Dietary liquids
Sprays for the tongue
For vaporization, dried flowers
Dried flowers used in tea.

Note: It is prohibited to grow or use medical marijuana for personal use.

Travelers Can Bring Some Medical Marijuana Into New Zealand

There are restrictions on bringing medical marijuana into New Zealand under local law. Due to their classification as Schedule I regulated medications, products from the US are forbidden.

The importation of cannabis medications is permitted if the visiting patient declares them to New Zealand customs and confirms that the item:

  • Is there a medical necessity for them or a patient under their care?
  • Has been obtained legally in the person’s own country.
  • Contains hardly enough for one month

New Zealand Industrial Hemp

If the grower has a license, hemp can be grown lawfully in New Zealand. These licenses are issued by the government.

Hemp is categorized as a restricted substance under the Drug Abuse Act, however, cultivation is legal as long as the THC content is less than 0.35 percent. The legislation is clear that hemp cannot be distributed to unauthorized people or promoted for use in psychotropic activities.

The cost is $511.11 for a one-year license to cultivate hemp. You can get permission to conduct additional research across species for $153.33.

Cultural Values

The public has a positive opinion of cannabis. A New Zealand Drug Foundation survey found that 67 percent of respondents thought the government should decriminalize this drug’s personal possession. In terms of analgesia for terminally ill patients, it gets up to 89 percent support and 87 percent support as an analgesic.

Only 38% of people think that cannabis derivatives ought to be offered for sale in retail, showing that there is still some stigma attached to using it.


While medical marijuana is permitted in New Zealand, the restrictions are quite tight and only a very small number of patients are able to acquire greater THC concentrations. Even though CBD is significantly easier to get, a prescription is still needed.

By Rachel Stone

Rachel Stone is an experienced content marketer with over five years of expertise in cannabis science and culture writing. Her contributions have been showcased in renowned publications such as Forbes, Weedmaps News/, the Wall Street Journal, and more.

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