Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Helius commends National on its medicinal cannabis bill

Prominent cannabis biotech start-up Helius commends National
on its medicinal cannabis bill.

Helius Therapeutics, the New Zealand-owned medicinal cannabis company, commends Dr Shane Reti and the National Party for their medicinal cannabis bill.

Speaking on behalf of Helius, Co-Founder Paul Manning says, “It is clear that Shane Reti and his team have sought expert advice, applied industry best practice and commercial rigour to implement a realistic, workable approach to medicinal cannabis legislation in New Zealand.”

Helius believes the details set out in the National bill will provide accessibility for patients seeking to improve their quality of life and pave the way for a world-class, well-regulated medicinal cannabis industry.

“In our opinion, this bill is a near-perfect balance of social and commercial priorities for medicinal cannabis legislation.”

“This bill addresses the key issues that we have campaigned for over the last six months. It will set medical-grade standards for the cultivation and manufacture of cannabis-based therapeutics. It points to high quality standards as mandatory, which will place the New Zealand industry, and companies like Helius, ahead of the world in terms of safety, consistency and quality”, says Manning.

Cannabis card will improve patient access and experience

Helius applauds National's proposed medicinal cannabis card program and believes this would provide a high level of accessibility for patients who can benefit from cannabis-based medicines.

“Cannabis card schemes have proven to facilitate accessibility in the US. This approach removes friction from the process, improves the patient experience, connects healthcare practitioners and helps with the integration of seed-to-sale tracking systems. This approach also supports a potentially broad domestic patient-base for local producers to serve”.

Quality standards, right for New Zealand

Helius points out that GMP is a quality production process, suitable for the medicinal cannabis industry, and already supported by producers. It does not mean that all cannabis products must be clinically-trailed in the way that pharmaceuticals are developed – it simply sets quality production standards. This will not impact the cost of products to patients. Helius has worked extensively with partners, Deloitte, to model the impact of GMP certification on the end-cost of products. The company has applied industry insights from North America and local commercial modelling.

“GMP is a standardised quality system, already used here by companies producing vitamins, natural health supplements and milk formula. We’re opting to meet this standard because we believe New Zealand-made medicinal cannabis products should be benchmarked against the best in the world.”

Helius found that there is no substantive impact of GMP certification on product costs, when compared to lesser standards.

“Helius is capable of producing medical-grade cannabis products for patients at a cost not exceeding the present, unregulated black market”, says Manning. “The primary factor in keeping costs low for New Zealanders isn’t quality systems – it’s market size and economies of scale.”

National’s bill provides clarity

Helius believes this new bill gives producers and patients greater clarity. "What we see in this bill is a level of detail that the industry can bite down on. The bill makes the standards for cultivation and manufacturing clearer. It tells us who can cultivate and manufacture products; it tells us what we can sell, where we can sell it and whom we can sell it to. These details were not clear in the original bill."

“This is exactly what local producers like us wanted to see, and equally it sets out the right priorities for society. We think the Government should get behind this bill.”

Opportunities to improve the bill further

Helius suggests that National’s bill should go further to address the enormous economic opportunity associated with exporting cannabis extracts. The company advocates that licensed producers should be allowed to create more jobs and generate taxable, foreign earnings for New Zealand through trade in the $55b global medicinal cannabis market.

“Demand for medicinal cannabis is outstripping supply in the world markets. We believe Government should support local producers in exporting New Zealand-grown medicinal cannabis products. Better yet, the economies of scale associated with export will further reduce product costs for Kiwi patients.”

Helius also points out the suggested 5km residential safety zone needs further consideration with exemption options for secure, indoor facilities located in industrial precincts.

We also strongly support the development of full spectrum medicinal cannabis products. This means allowing the use of all cannabinoids, including THC, in therapeutic products – the standard across North America. “All of the available compounds in medicinal cannabis offer their own therapeutic properties, and together they work synergistically to provide more benefit than any single compound. This is known in the industry as ‘the entourage effect’”, says Manning

“We hope to see this well thought-out framework put forward for public and parliamentary scrutiny, without delay. Medicinal cannabis is now supported by 87% of the population, and we are ready to begin local production of safe, affordable medicinal cannabis products to improve quality of life. We must put patients ahead of politics and maintain momentum."

-- ENDS --

About Helius Therapeutics

Helius is a New Zealand-owned biotechnology company focused on medicinal cannabis research and development. Helius completed a $15m Series A capital raise earlier this year and is building a state-of-the-art facility in Auckland with indoor controlled growing systems, integrated extraction site, an advanced cannabinoid research laboratory and manufacturing operations. As the country's regulatory environment changes, Helius is poised to set the standard for effective and accessible medicinal cannabis products in New Zealand.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Another Reason To Loathe HR Departments (And On The Teachers Strike)

This morning’s news item about Police emergency call centre staff turning up for work while they’re sick – because they’re afraid their sick leave statistics will be used against them, and their jobs put in jeopardy – is not an isolated case...

Obviously, sick people shouldn’t be being treated by doctors and nurses who are themselves sick and potentially infectious. Similarly, Police emergency calls also need to be fielded by people who’re feeling alert, and on top of their game. More>>


MPs' Computers To Be Searched: Inquiry Into Leak On Simon Bridges' Expenses

An inquiry has been launched to find out who leaked the National Party's expenses to the media... Parliament's speaker, Trevor Mallard, said a Queen's Counsel would lead the inquiry with the help of an employment lawyer and also someone with forensic IT skills. More>>


Teachers Strike: Nationwide Rallies And Marches

Teachers and principals voted for a full day strike to be held on 15 August to send a strong message to the Government that the current collective agreement offers from the Ministry of Education would not fix the crisis in teaching. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: City Council Ends Its Support For Jackson’s Movie Museum

The Wellington City Council and the Movie Museum Limited have today announced a mutually-agreed parting of the ways for a joint project between the Council’s Convention Centre and TMML’s Movie Museum... Both parties remain optimistic for the future of their respective projects. More>>

Pay Equity: Historic Settlement For Education Support Workers

The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) and the Ministry of Education today signed Terms of Settlement to address a pay equity claim for 329 support workers who work with very young children in early childhood and primary schools. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Stereotypes About Jacinda Ardern

Routinely, female politicians get depicted as either show ponies or battle axes, with little room for anything else in between. .. More>>

Weekend Interviews: "Discriminatory And Racist" Aussie Deportations

The former president of Australia’s Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs says deportations have risen dramatically in Australia since 2014 when ministers and ministerial delegates were given the power to cancel visas - and half of those being deported are New Zealanders. "These are massive numbers, actually escalating dramatically."... More>>


Legal Challenge: Prisoner Has 9 Boxes Of Documents Seized

Human rights organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa says a prisoner they advocate for has had 9 boxes of legal documents seized from him just days before his case against the Department of Corrections was to be heard. More>>

Single-Use Plastic Bags: Govt To Phase Them Out

Single-use plastic shopping bags will be phased out over the next year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. More>>





Featured InfoPages