Czech Republic on the way to legalizing cannabis

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In the Czech Republic, hemp products like marijuana, hashish and cannabis oil have been available in pharmacies for years. Prague is now planning full legalization for 2023 and wants to coordinate the step with Berlin.

The possession of up to 10 grams (0.35 ounces) of marijuana, hashish or hemp oil or the growing of up to five cannabis plants is an offense with a fine of up to €500 ($495). Around 20,000 Czechs are fined each year. The possession of larger amounts is, however, a criminal offense punishable by up to five years in prison. Hundreds of people are currently in prison because of it.

At the same time, marijuana and other hemp products have been available in pharmacies since 2017 to people with a doctor’s prescription showing a medical need to consume cannabis. All other consumers have to resort to the black market. As hemp cultivation is also illegal in the country, pharmacies receive their goods from countries such as the Netherlands, and cannabis for the black market is illegally cultivated. 

Although still against the law, the consumption of substances containing THC is widespread in the Czech Republic. Around 30% of the adult population has tried marijuana, and 8% to 9% use it regularly, according to the Addiction Report released in August 2022 by the National Monitoring Center on Drugs and Addiction (NMS). According to the data, around 800,000 people in the country of 11 million use cannabis.

The Czech center-right governing coalition has now started drafting legislation to fully legalize products containing THC. In the future, they would be considered similar to alcohol or cigarettes. In March 2023, the drug commissioner is scheduled to present a first draft of the bill.

The idea is that there will be licensed companies working under strict rules for the production and distribution of marijuana, the Czech drug commissioner explained. Dealers would have to apply for a state license. It is still unclear whether users will have to register.

“I will also try to ensure that as little cannabis as possible is consumed through conventional smoking because that is what is most damaging to the health,” added Jindrich Voboril, the Czech drug commissioner

. Alternatives to smoking — cannabis vapor is far more carcinogenic than tobacco — include ingestion via vaporizers and as an additive to foods or drinks.

Read more via DW

Once you're here...

%d bloggers like this: