Prague, Czech Republic – The lower house of Parliament rejected earlier this week a proposal to liberalize cannabis production and consumption in the Czech Republic.
Czech lawmakers reject limited legalization of cannabis
Spearheaded by the Czech Pirate Party and put forward by a group of forty MPs from six different parties, the amendment would have legalized the possession of up to five hemp plants at home for personal use. Individuals would also be allowed to carry up to 30 grams of cannabis outside their home, and legally pass on that same amount to someone else free of charge.
Calling for the liberalizing of current regulations, Pirate MP Tomas Vymazal pointed out that “cannabis is very popular in the Czech Republic”, with studies showing that more than a quarter of Czech teenagers have already experimented with it at least once. Proponents of the bill argue that legalizing cannabis for recreational use would reduce black-market and criminal activities associated with the production and distribution of marijuana.
Highlighting the “social and health risks” of the measure, Health Minister Jan Blatny (ANO) said this limited legalization of cannabis would be in conflict with international law and the government’s anti-drug policy.
Use of medical cannabis on the rise
Other opposing lawmakers from the Communist party and far-right SPD movement emphasised the impact of cannabis use on the loss of motivation, depression and anxiety, prompting a heated exchange between Tomio Okamura’s far-right party and Pirate MPs.
While rejecting the Pirate Party’s proposal, Czech lawmakers on the same day approved the government’s proposals to make medical cannabis more affordable and accessible for those in need.
Medical cannabis has been legal in the Czech Republic since 2013. Use of marijuana for therapeutic purposes skyrocketed in recent years, with a four-fold annual increase observed last year after the passing of a new law allowing health insurance companies to cover up to 90% of the cost.