The Czech Parliament will consider legalization
The planned introduction of a legal regulated cannabis market in the Czech Republic may end up in the European Court.
It was said by Jindřich Voboril, the coordinator of national drug policy, at the Cannabis Summit conference in Prague.
However, he stated that he considers this the best option, as it has been proven that prohibition does not work and only brings costs and risks. The project being prepared by Voboril allows for the permission of home and commercial cultivation of hemp, the creation of special clubs for recreational use, and licensed sales in stores for individuals over 18 years old.
The establishment of a strictly regulated cannabis market is part of a plan to combat addiction approved by the government in early April, which also includes strengthening addiction prevention and treatment and increasing taxation on addictive substances.
Voboril said he would like the Chamber of Deputies to approve the bill by the end of the year, ideally allowing the regulated market to start operating next year. However, considering European legislation and the fact that the Czech Republic is the only EU member to allow a commercial market for recreational cannabis use, it is likely that another member state will challenge this measure in the European Court, he warned.
If the Czech state loses the lawsuit, which could take years, there are other available options, he noted, although these options are not as favorable.
The coordinator also described some expected parameters of the planned change. Market entry will be conditioned by a paid license. Approximately 50,000 Czech crowns (1850 euro) per year will be charged for 200 square meters of cultivation area, the same amount will be paid by sellers. Pharmacies will be able to sell cannabis without commission, and individual citizens will be able to grow it freely at home on an area of up to three square meters.
Voboril said he does not intend to limit the number of licenses issued, but the government coalition is discussing whether to limit the territory for each producer to prevent the gradual dominance of a few large players in the market. The coordinator would also like to introduce user registration, which would limit the amount of marijuana that can be purchased per month.
Kai-Friedrich Niermann, a German lawyer and expert in European regulation, says that commercial sales can indeed be problematic under international and European law because of free movement of goods and services, which is one of the pillars of the EU. If only one country opens the market, it is problematic because other countries cannot participate in this market, he noted.
In June 2022, a bill to legalize medical cannabis was registered in the Ukrainian parliament. Previously, the bill was supported by the Cabinet of Ministers. And the Ministry of Health emphasized that medical cannabis is capable of preventing patient suffering and improving their treatment, easing the course of over 50 pathological conditions, including PTSD resulting from military actions.