The new chair of the New Zealand Medicinal Cannabis Council (NZMCC) has pledged to work with the government to improve the country’s recently introduced regulatory framework after concerns it is hampering the local industry and patient access.
Steve Wilson of Kāriki Pharma was elected chair at the group’s recent annual general meeting, with Zoë Reece of Ora Pharm elected deputy and Nigel Slaughter of Ligar named secretary/treasurer.
Wilson said the council will continue to liaise closely with the Medicinal Cannabis Agency to promote the industry and improve the country’s new medicinal cannabis framework.
“There are several pressing issues around the interpretation and workability of the new regulations, which we are working to resolve, and many areas where we can improve access for patients and support innovation and development.”
He added he was looking forward to the council’s members bringing their first products to New Zealand patients in 2022.
“I’m looking forward to seeing innovative dose forms and many formulations targeting a broad range of conditions. I’m keen to see the council exploring ways in which we can support and advance our members’ access to important international markets, taking our uniquely New Zealand-grown and made products to the world.”
Wilson paid tribute to retiring chair Manu Caddie of Rua Bioscience, who co-founded the council in 2018.
“Manu created a broad-based, collaborative group representing all parts of our burgeoning industry. [His] inclusive leadership style drew together a wide range of members over the past three years — growers, manufacturers, advisors and specialist service companies — something I hope to continue.”
The other board members are Tim Aldridge (Puro New Zealand), Tara Creaven-Capasso (Caduceus Medical Development), Carmen Doran (Helius Therapeutics), Kate Flynn (Cannasouth) and Rob Mitchell (Rua Bioscience).