Despite the Russian invasion of Ukraine, ministers continue to carry out their legislative duties, planning progressive policies for the country’s development.
Last week the Health Minister of Ukraine, Viktor Liashko took to Facebook to announce that the government had backed a bill that would further regulate medical cannabis in the country.
Liashko declared that “we understand the negative effects of war on mental health. We understand the number of people who will need medical treatment due to this exposure. And we understand that there is no time to wait”.
This follows the legalization of certain medical cannabis products in April 2021, including dronabinol, nabilone, and nabiximols.
The Draft Cannabis Law in Ukraine
The proposed bill looks to amend legislation on the country ‘Concerning the regulation of the circulation of cannabis plants for medical, industrial purposes, scientific and scientific-technical activities’.
Acknowledging the devastating impact war can have on mental health, in addition to other war related treatment citizens might need resulting from their exposure to war, the Ukrainian government looks to leverage the wide-ranging medical benefits afforded by the cannabis plant.
The draft law would expand patient access to cannabis medicines for over 50 conditions, including managing symptoms of cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain and neurological disorders.
Allaying concerns that the country would turn into the Amsterdam of Eastern Europe overnight, Liashko was clear to reiterate that the proposed legislative changes would pertain strictly to medical cannabis, closing the door – for the time being – to a legal recreational cannabis market in Ukraine.
Moreover, the government-supported bill would ensure strict controls on cannabis in Ukraine, with the country looking to put in place a central executive body that would have oversight for the domestic cultivation, production and sale of cannabis products.
Will Ukraine’s Cannabis Bill Pass Into Law?
This is not the first time a draft bill on medical cannabis has been introduced in Ukraine. Two months after a small handful of cannabis-based products were permitted for certain patients, the Ukrainian Parliament failed to approve a similar bill in July 2021, sending it back for re-working.
Given the current circumstances, there is confidence amongst those in the Ministry of Health that Parliament will support the bill.
For the bill to move into law, it would need to achieve at least 226 votes when the motion is brought to the Ukrainian Parliament.
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