News & Politics

Czech Republic Moves to Legalize Medical Marijuana

By the end of the year, the Czech Republic's Department of Health will submit to parliament an amended law removing marijuana from the list of banned prescription substances.

 The Czech Republic is on the path toward legalizing medical marijuana. The Ministry of Health said last week it plans to remove marijuana from its list of proscribed substances and allow it to be prescribed by doctors.

"By the end of this year we will submit to parliament an amended law on addictive substances which will move marihuana from the list of banned substances to the list of those which can be prescribed," Deputy Health Minister Martin Plíšek pledged.

Medical marijuana already enjoys political support in the Czech Republic, which liberalized its drug laws last year. Under that law, possession of small amounts of pot and cultivation of small numbers of plants is decriminalized. Prominent politicians backing medical marijuana include Miroslava Nemcova of the Civil Democrats, who is speaker of the lower chamber of parliament, Public Affairs Party chairman Radek John and other prominent party members.

Although the Czech Republic is seeing a boom in home marijuana growing, with grow shops in even the smallest towns, Deputy Minister Plisek said he would prefer to see marijuana imported for medical use rather than relying on a local industry that could see marijuana diverted into the recreational market.

"We must take steps to ensure that there is no massive abuse without a doctor's prescription," he added.

The ministry must also determine what sort of distribution system to set up. The Israeli model, where the state is licensing medical marijuana farms, is one oft-cited system.
Czech Republic
Phillip Smith is an editor at DRCNet.
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