The Czech Republic will legalize marijuana. “The risk of addiction will be reduced”

The Czech Republic will legalize marijuana. “The risk of addiction will be reduced”

Tourists in Prague quickly get the impression that the Czech capital is also the cannabis capital of Europe. The marijuana leaf adorns the stickers and posters advertising. There are also numerous shops that offer everything you need to grow cannabis – from topsoil, seeds and fertilizers to lights for growing under artificial light. On top of that, there are bottles and cans of hemp drinks that are available in many stores foods, as well as hemp chocolate, ointments and creams.

But appearances are deceptive. These products contain at most 1 percent. a psychoactive substance – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – from cannabis flowers and leaves, which turns it into an intoxicant. In addition to the dried female hemp flowers known as grass, weed or marijuana, hemp products are primarily fermented and pressed flowers and hemp oils, also known as hashish. All of them are still illegal in the Czech Republic if they contain more than 1%. THC.

Possession and cultivation: what penalties in the Czech Republic

Possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana, hashish or hemp oil is a criminal offense in the Czech Republic. The same goes for growing up to five cannabis plants. The penalty for these violations can reach up to 500 euros, and around 20,000 are considered guilty in such cases annually. Czechs. Exceeding the THC limit is a crime punishable by five years in prison. For this reason, several hundred people are currently in prison.

At the same time, since 2017, marijuana and other cannabis products have been available in pharmacies – only on prescription, i.e. only for customers who have a medical certificate confirming the need to use these products for medical reasons. All other consumers have to source from the black market. The cultivation of hemp is also illegal in the Czech Republic. Pharmacies receive their goods from countries such as the Netherlands.

THC consumption: young Czechs first in the EU

Although still illegal, consumption of substances containing THC is widespread in the Czech Republic. As much as 35 percent the adult population has tried marijuana, and 8-9 percent. uses it regularly. This is data from the August report on addiction of the National Monitoring Center for Drugs and Addictions (NMS). Thus, out of the 11 million inhabitants of the Czech Republic, cannabis is consumed by approx. 800,000.

“We are one of the countries with the highest percentage of people who have had at least one THC experience in their lifetime,” Pavla Chominova, head of the Center, told Pravo. According to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the Czech Republic ranks first in the EU with 23%. consuming products with THC in the 15-34 age group. On the other hand, when it comes to hard drugs, they are at the center of the European ranking.

The goal: to eliminate the black market and billions in the budget

The Czech center-right ruling coalition has just begun work on a law fully legalizing THC products. In the future, they should be treated like alcohol or cigarettes. “Despite the previous decriminalization, we still have a black market, no official production or quality control, and no sales controls for under-18s,” said DW Jindrich Voboril, Czech Drug Coordinator.

The cannabis issue brought the Czech Pirate Party (CPS), the smallest coalition member, into the public debate. “Legalization will make the Czech Republic a freer country. It will bring billions to public budgets that have so far been thrown down the drain,” the party wrote on Twitter.

According to pirate estimates, taxing hemp products can make a difference Republic Czech Republic about 800 million euros annually.

“The risk of addiction will decrease”

At the end of September 2022, the government in Prague commissioned Jindrich Voboril to prepare a draft law on the legalization of cannabis. In March 2023, the coordinator is to present the first project. The only coalition party that remains skeptical about the project is the Christian Union (KDU-CSL). Ale Voboril, himself a member of the conservative-liberal Civic Democratic Party (ODS) premiere Petra Fiali is convinced: – If the state legalizes drug use and brings it under control, the risk of addiction will be reduced.

In his bill, he proposes that government agencies take control of both the production and sale of hemp products.

The Czech Republic wants to cooperate with Germany

“Licensed companies will operate under strict marijuana production rules,” he said. Sellers would have to apply for a state license. At present, it is still unclear whether consumers will need to register. “I will strive to ensure that as little marijuana is consumed as possible through conventional smoking, which is the most harmful to health,” adds Voboril. Alternatives to smoking – Cannabis fumes are far more carcinogenic than tobacco – are using vaporizers, cookies, or drinks.

Prague coordinates work on the legalization law with Berlin, where the government also deals with the issue of cannabis – emphasizes the Czech coordinator. – Our colleagues from Germany want hemp intended for the German market to be grown and processed only in Germany. And we do the same. On the other hand, I believe that we should supply each other.

The Czech Republic is seeking an agreement to open up the cannabis market to each other.

The article comes from the site Deutsche Welle.

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