New Zealand’s Cannabis Clinic has launched an ID card to identify the holder as a current medicinal cannabis patient under its care.

The medicinal cannabis dispensary and clinic with more than 6,000 patients has received several hundred requests for the card so far, and has set a target of issuing 1,000 in the first phase.

It eventually plans to expand the service to any person who has been prescribed medicinal cannabis by their GP.

Clinic administrator, Claris Jones-White said she hopes the initiative will help support patients who may feel stigmatised for their medicinal cannabis use and gain legal credibility and recognition over time.

She said: “Many people who use medicinal cannabis still face stigma and judgement from others for using these products. They feel vulnerable as a result. People with the card do not need to explain themselves, the card speaks for them, and they feel reassured to have it.” 

While the patient verification card, which identifies the holder as a user of CBD or THC-based medicine, does not have any official legal status, Jones-White said it can be presented to employers, banks, or when travelling and driving.

She added: “If a person taking THC tests positive in a drug screen, this is a quick means of demonstrating the reason. Not just on the road, but at work and while travelling.

“Over time we want the ID card to be a more formal recognition for medicinal cannabis users, so the police and relevant authorities are aware of it and consider it when drug testing etc.

“We are hopeful this is a step in the right direction for medicinal cannabis users in NZ. A way to use prescribed products without the worry of being judged or stigmatised in our society. It is hard enough getting doctors to prescribe it, let alone people feeling comfortable to use the products.”

The card rollout comes at a time when New Zealand’s medicinal cannabis framework is under renewed focus from patients and legislators.