Elixinol Global’s (ASX: EXL) cannabidiol (CBD) products have now been made available on a prescription basis in New Zealand following a recent softening in legislation on medical cannabis.
With prescriptions already flowing in via its e-commerce website, the company has also declared its maiden CBD shipment to the country.
It comes after the passage of the country’s Misuse of Drugs (medicinal cannabis) Amendment Act in December 2018, which classifies CBD with low levels of THC as prescription medicine.
The ruling paved the way for hemp-derived CBD products to be sold legally, as opposed to being banned under government prohibition.
Elixinol founder and chief executive officer Paul Benhaim said the changes in New Zealand now enable the company to cater to the strong demand for its products in the country.
“New Zealand has become very progressive in its laws surrounding hemp-derived CBD. It’s a very exciting time for the New Zealand public and for Elixinol,” Mr Benhaim told Small Caps.
“We are delighted to be one of the first companies to supply New Zealand patients with the range our US customers have been benefiting from for years.”
The new act also enables individuals to import up to a three-month supply of cannabidiol products, provided those products meet prescription medicine guidelines.
Groundswell of change
Speaking with Small Caps previously when the legislation was changed, Mr Benhaim flagged a quick transition to the company being able to place its CBD products for sale in New Zealand.
“We have a distributor excited to sell our products in New Zealand and we’ll be able to take a number of other products to market there in the near future,” he said at the time.
There has been a groundswell of change in legislation related to CBD globally, with the US Farm Bill passing in December. As a result, CBD products have been de-scheduled from the Controlled Substances Act.
Mr Benhaim told Small Caps the company had been seeing a big jump in demand for its products out of the US as a result of the bill change.
“We had been preparing for the increased demand all of last year by ensuring a strong supply chain of raw materials through joint venture partners as well as sourcing from the largest hemp growers in Colorado, US,” he said.
Elixinol’s main revenue stream comes from hemp-derived CBD dietary supplements. The company’s other businesses cover hemp-foods and medical cannabis, with its hemp seeds and oils already being sold across Australia and New Zealand.
In recent years, hemp seeds have been hailed as a ‘superfood’. Hemp-related products, such as hemp oil, are purported to have a range of health benefits thanks to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties contained within.
Globally, the hemp industry is understood to be worth in excess of $500 million annually – and growing, on the back of increasing use of industrial hemp, hemp seed and its plethora of derivatives.
Shares in Elixinol jumped 8.33% to $2.99.