The news that the Class B drug could be imported if a 'very specific' licence was issued by HSSD was confirmed by the department in February, although it added it had never received an application.
HSSD has now confirmed that, since the February article, a 'very small number of applications' has been received.
The requests were granted – meaning 'importation, possession and supply' by a named person, pharmacist, pharmacy or facility to one user is completely legal.
'As the number of licences granted is fewer than five, HSSD will not disclose the exact number because of the risk of identification and breach of confidentiality of the patients concerned,' it said.
In February, the department said the little-known rule had never been used and that medicinal marijuana would only be made available following a strict and detailed process.
HSSD said a 'compelling case' from a clinician about why cannabis was 'the only drug/agent capable of addressing the patient's pain issues' would need to be made.