By Emily Ledger
The Czech government has released details of new cultivation and export rules expected to be introduced in the country’s medical cannabis sector. The new rules will stem from a Bill aimed at reforming the Czech Republic’s Act on Addictive Substances.
If approved, the bill is expected to lead to an increase in cultivation and export licenses for medical cannabis in the country. Medical cannabis has been legal in the Czech Republic since 2013. However, current rules have received criticism for stifling easy access to cannabis medications.
The country has also struggled to keep up with the demand for differing preparations of medical cannabis products. Original domestic harvests of medical cannabis were of the same strain of products imported from Bedrocan in the Netherlands. This meant that a limited number of Czech patients have so far benefitted from medical cannabis.
However, despite a lack of diversity in products, availability has gradually improved since the introduction of legalisation. The number of prescribing doctors and pharmacies providing medical cannabis products has gradually increased – up from 41 pharmacies in 2018 to 90 in 2020.
In addition, the State Institute for Drug Control nearly 16kg of medical cannabis was sold between January and April 2020. This is around the same amount sold in the whole od 2019.
Czech MP for the country’s Pirate Party, Tomáš Vymazal, stated:
“For the first time, members of Parliament will have to deal with the legalization of cannabis, which has so far been parked among stacks of pending proposals. Now it is up to us to convince MPs to deal with legalization in committees… “
This new Bill, which will be voted on by the Czech Parliament, will aim to take this progress even further. Currently, there is only one domestic grower of medical cannabis supplying products for the sector. The proposed amendments will make it easier for cultivation licenses to be granted, improving diversity and supply in the sector.
In October 2019, the Czech government announced plans to subsidise the cost of medical Cannabis from public health insurance. The plan meant that patients would be reimbursed for up to 90% of the cost of their medical cannabis prescriptions.
If approved by MPs in parliament, implementation of the new rules would be expected by mid-2021.