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Czech Republic to outline laws for legalisation of adult-use cannabis

Proposals for the introduction of a regulated cannabis market are expected by the end of March.

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Legalisation of adult-use cannabis could be introduced by 2024.

Proposals for the legalisation of adult-use cannabis in the Czech Republic are expected to be published in a matter of months with a focus on ‘reform, regulation and taxation’. 

Draft laws, which would see the introduction of a regulated cannabis market in the Czech Republic, could be ready by the end of March, according to reports from local news provider ČTK.

Discussions around the introduction of a regulated cannabis market in the country began at the end of last year, following Germany’s announcement of its intent to legalise personal consumption of the plant.

In September, national drug coordinator Jindřich Vobořil announced his plans to deliver reform by early 2024, with the backing of Prime Minister Petr Fiala, who holds a parliamentary majority.

The news led some industry analysts to speculate that Czechia could overtake Germany in the race to establish Europe’s first commercial adult-use market. 

The country already has some of the most progressive cannabis laws in Europe. Medicinal cannabis has been legal in the country since 2013 and since 2009 the possession of 15g of cannabis flower and 5g of resin, as well as growing up to five plants for personal use, has been decriminalised. However, consumers risk up to €500 in fines.

According to ČTK, David Hluštík from the government department for the coordination of anti-drug policy said the draft being prepared includes rules around taxation, legal cultivation, sales and exports, as well as the functioning of cannabis clubs.

The bill will place restrictions on who is permitted to produce and sell cannabis, with a registration of ‘users, small growers or cannabis associations’.

On Monday, 23 January, Mr Vobořil told the outlet: “Last year, around a million people used cannabis. Most of them function normally in their lives. It is therefore an established but illegal market. That is why it is important to choose a strictly regulated market instead of repression and criminal penalties.

“We propose taxation of cannabis and the collection of funds for the granting of licences. This way we expect significant income for the state budget. At the same time, I hope that we will then agree with the government on some allocation of funds for prevention.”

An impact assessment of the legalisation of cannabis, which was pushed for by the country’s third largest political party, the Czech Pirates, found a legal market could raise up to €73 million a year in taxes. 

In a statement in October, Jana Michailidu, head of the Pirate expert team on addiction policy and a member of the National Governmental Addiction Council, commented: “Our regulation will rival Canada’s ambitious legalisation scheme in the context of prevention and harm reduction efforts, and be unmatched on the European playing field regarding its extent. Furthermore, the expansive legalisation impact study conducted by the Pirate Party on this is the most comprehensive one yet.”

MP Klára Kocmanová added: “Reform, regulation, taxation – these are the three pillars with which we as Pirates approach the regulation of the cannabis market. By taxing, we will raise billions of euros a year while avoiding unnecessary spending on repression. In addition, if we manage to launch the regulated market together with the German one, it will mean huge export opportunities for our economy. 

“We also aim to reduce the black market and, in particular, access to cannabis for minors. That’s why we have come up with a model that combines the introduction of a licensed cannabis market like in the US, elements of restrictions on promotion and an information campaign to reduce harm along the lines of Canada, and registration of legal users, similar to Uruguay.”

Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister title and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email sarah@prohibitionpartners.com / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag

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