Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne has announced that the CBD cannabis medicine will have restrictions on its use and prescription removed in line with other countries.
Cannabidiol, or CBD as it is known, is the part of hemp usually used for medical purposes and has little to no psychoactive traits.
Its use rose to prominence - and controversy - in 2015 with the case of Nelson teen Alex Renton, whose family campaigned for better access to the drug which may have improved Alex's quality of life in his final months.
Mr Dunne announced this morning that the substance has potential therapeutic value and yet it is a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
"At present CBD products for therapeutic use are only available if approval is given by the Ministry of Health," he said in a statement.
"I have taken advice from the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) that CBD should not be a controlled drug and am pleased Cabinet has now accepted my recommendation to make this change. Therefore, I am now taking steps to remove restrictions accordingly.
"In practical terms, the changes mean CBD would be able to be prescribed by a doctor to their patient and supplied in a manner similar to any other prescription medicine.
"Australia has already taken a similar step while other countries are also responding to emerging evidence that CBD has a low risk of harm when used therapeutically.
"This change is about future-proofing access to CBD products, as the reality is that there will continue to be barriers beyond New Zealand’s control to people accessing such products from overseas.
The changes will remove the requirement for ministerial approval prior to treatment, and for pharmacies, prescribers and wholesalers to have an import licence, special storage areas and to keep controlled drug records and stock keeping.
Prescriptions will be allowed for up to three months' of the drug, rather than one.