The Czech Republic wants to become one of the first countries in the European Union to regulate the use and marketing of cannabis for recreational use, a goal also set by Luxembourg, Germany, and the Netherlands.
The coordinator of the Czech anti-drug agency, Jindřich Vobořil, announced last September that the law to legalize the cannabis market in the country by 2024 is in the works. He also called for a "collective effort" by the 27 countries that make up the EU to regulate the medical cannabis market alongside the adult-use market.
"We hope it regulating the cannabis market] will be a concerted effort. It is impossible not to talk about it in terms of the European Union. Prohibition was not effective enough; we need to find other regulatory models. A regulated market may be the only possible solution," Vobořil stressed.
He also said he wanted strict regulation of the Czech cannabis market. Although cannabis for adult use is illegal in the Czech Republic, there are currently 92 pharmacies selling products related to therapeutic cannabis, with a maximum of 19% of the psychoactive component THC and up to 7.5% CBD. Home cultivation of cannabis is legal as long as the THC component does not exceed 1% and as long as it is for personal consumption. Cultivation for sale is punishable by six months to five years in prison.
The Czech reality shows that thousands of people are sent to court every year for home cultivation, although in many other cases the police ignore them, which generated an atmosphere of legal insecurity that the Government intends to solve.
The Czech Republic’s Perspective on Legalization
Vobořil is preparing a plan to legalize cannabis in the Czech Republic, which he plans to present later this year. "I am glad we are not alone in the EU," he commented. In particular, he mentioned projects in Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands that are currently involved in cannabis legislation.
On the other hand, some countries, such as France and Sweden, are against any regulation. Drug policy experts joined the event in Prague. According to Michel Kazatchkine of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, the EU should remove cannabis from the list of banned substances.
"We have been trying to do this for more than ten years. There are a lot of legal complications, but I believe that there will be a change of understanding in Europe and the world, and a regulated cannabis market will emerge," Kazatchkine said, as quoted by the Czech News Agency. He later added, "thanks to the Czech EU presidency, the debate on the regulated market is also reaching a political level."