Czech Republic: Government Approves Legislative Changes to Licensing Cannabis for Medical Purposes
The Czech government has approved plans to amend the law on addictive substances, which will allow licenses to be grown and exported for medical marijuana. The bill would also authorize more than one producer, the State Institute for Drug Control licensing the smallest.
Cannabis is technically legal in the Czech Republic, but people with various illnesses have long demanded that medical herb be easier to obtain and cheaper.
Last January, public health insurance was extended access, under certain conditions. The first patient to be fully reimbursed is a 52-year-old woman who suffers from a progressive form of multiple sclerosis and has not been relieved by traditional medication. Her father, Zdeněk Majzlík, regularly supplies her with 180 grams for medical use each month and rolls six joints for daily consumption by adding small doses to her food.
"She was really thinking about ending her life because she couldn't take it anymore. Today, a doctor writes a prescription, sends it to the "examining" doctor, who approves it or not, and returns it to the prescribing doctor. If the prescription is approved, we send you a code that you can take to the pharmacy. ”
It's not as simple as it sounds. Currently, there are only 90 pharmacies in the country that are authorized to buy and resell cannabis grown in the Czech Republic to patients from the only authorized distributor, Alliance Healthcare.
Currently, only one domestic producer, Elkoplast Slušovice, supplies most cannabis flowers for medical use on the Czech market. Canadian producers, including Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth and Tilray, have exported small quantities to the Czech Republic.
In addition, the Ministry of Health has introduced 64 possible prescription codes, each representing a type of cannabis with a precisely defined content of CBD and THC.
Meanwhile, interest in CBD products has further increased in the Czech Republic in recent months, with people looking for other ways to deal with the stress and anxiety associated with the current coronavirus crisis.
Earlier this week, MPs supported a proposal of the Pirate Party to join the discussion of two amendments to the Law on Addictive Substances, one by the opposition party, regulating the handling of cannabis for personal use, and the other by the Ministry of health on the provision of medical cannabis. Pirate Party deputy Tomáš Vymazal called this initiative a small step, but an important one.
"For the first time, MEPs will have to deal with the legalization of cannabis, which has so far been parked among piles of pending proposals. It is now up to us to convince the deputies to deal with legalization in committee… The Czech people have long asked for this issue to be discussed in Parliament ”.
According to the State Institute for Drug Control, from January to April, almost 16 kilos of medical herbs were sold on the Czech market, about the same as for the whole of 2019.