In an attempt to provide relief for patients suffering from chronic pain, the New Zealand parliament had passed a bill that permits the medicinal use of marijuana. The patients can now acquire the drug with doctor's prescription.
The Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill, which passed the third and final reading in parliament and will soon become a law, classifies cannabidiol (a chemical in marijuana) as a prescription medicine instead of a controlled drug, reports Efe news.
The bill also sets up a statutory defence to allow those in palliative care to take illicit marijuana with a legal defence.
The vote allows medicinal marijuana manufacturers to produce and market their products both locally and abroad.
"Regulations, licensing rules, and quality standards will be set on expert advice within a year of the law coming into effect," Clark said.
New Zealand is the second government in the region to approve the medicinal use of cannabis after the Australian state of Victoria permitted it in 2016.
While some research suggests marijuana can be used to treat chronic pain, there is still significant controversy over its side-effects and effectiveness.