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Czech Republic: Proposed regulation leaves out the cannabis commercial circuit. Associations say it is “an incomplete proposal”

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Photo: DR | Sensi Seeds

A group of experts for the regulation of the cannabis market in the Czech Republic met up on the 10th of January, to discuss the first version of the proposed legislation for the legalization of cannabis, The meeting brought to the public a series of significant changes in the approach to regulating cannabis in the country. The proposal, presented by the National Anti-Drug Policy Coordinator, Jindrich Vobořil, ranges from the decriminalization of possession for personal use to collective cultivation in hemp associations. However, the regulation of a commercial circuit for cannabis has, for now, been left out of the proposals presented. The country's associations argue that the absence of market regulation is an incomplete solution.  

The first version of the bill that aims to legalize cannabis in the Czech Republic is making waves. Presented during the meeting of the group of experts chosen by Petr Fiala's government, the first version includes some crucial changes to the regulation of cannabis. The version, which Czech associations consider incomplete and which the Pirates Party also dislikes, was presented by the National Coordinator of Anti-Drug Policy, Jindrich Vobořil. The bill includes the decriminalization of possession of small quantities of cannabis for personal use, limited cultivation for personal consumption, collective cultivation in cannabis associations (using self-cultivation) and the manipulation of addictive substances as part of projects of investigation.

Jindrich Vobořil, National Anti-Drug Policy Coordinator of the Czech Republic

To the surprise of many who follow this regulatory process, the proposal does not include the introduction of a regulated cannabis market, a measure initially planned and which generated discontent in the coalition. The Pirates Party even described the project presented as a mere “compromise version of the government's proposal” and expressed their intention to continue negotiating to include this measure. This point of contention is a reflection of the differences of opinion within the coalition that makes up the Czech government and the different ways of approaching the issue of cannabis. The KDU-CSL party (Christian Democrats) has systematically shown resistance to the approval of this cannabis reform in the country. In an interview with Magazin Konopi, Jindrich Vobořil stated that this resistance extends to the most conservative wings.

Regulation in stand-by?

The absence of a regulated market in the project presented by the government, which only provided for rules for self-cultivation and the operation of cannabis clubs, was reason enough for several voices to emerge with divergent positions on the matter. While Marek Výborný, Minister of Agriculture, expressed concerns about the increase in users and the costs associated with addiction treatment and prevention programs, Jindrich Vobořil, on the other hand, highlighted that consistent regulation can effectively control production, distribution and sales. The National Coordinator of Anti-Drug Policies argued that, in addition to providing more effective prevention, a regulated market has the potential to generate millions of crowns in taxes annually. The government, in turn, highlighted in its program that the regulation of addictive substances will correspond to the degree of their harmfulness. The government's program statement further emphasized the implementation of a policy based on a “scientifically proven and balanced concept of risk prevention and harm reduction”.

Associations consider proposal incomplete

Three organizations Czechs linked to the cannabis industry (the Czech hemp cluster CzecHemp, the Safe Cannabis Association and the association Legalizace.cz) issued a joint statement, where they agreed that reform of prohibition laws is necessary. At the same time, entities warn that the absence of a regulated market is only an incomplete solution.

According to the statement, “allowing self-cultivation and cannabis clubs are two very important steps in the right direction, but they do not solve one of the main problems resulting from the current repressive approach: the enormous and ever-increasing profits of illegal producers and traders, who represent the greatest risk to young people and, therefore, to society as a whole.” The entities call on legislators to continue the work of preparing a project that includes a regulated cannabis market, based on expert recommendations and the results of specialized working group meetings.
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[Disclaimer: Please note that this text was originally written in Portuguese and is translated into English and other languages ​​using an automatic translator. Some words may differ from the original and typos or errors may appear in other languages.]

 

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[Disclaimer: Please note that this text was originally written in Portuguese and is translated into English and other languages ​​using an automatic translator. Some words may differ from the original and typos or errors may occur in other languages.]

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