As reported earlier this year, the Czech government legalized medicinal cannabis on February 15th 2013 for patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other serious conditions. The bill came into action yesterday and patients are now able to buy medicinal cannabis directly from pharmacies.
The Czech government has decided to import medicinal cannabis during the first year, until the State Institute for Drug Control issues 5 year production licenses to Czech companies. The institute will also determine the crop area and the organisation of tenders from the growers.
The prescription-only medicinal cannabis formally became legal on Monday, but was virtually unavailable as most pharmacies across the European Union state of 10.5 million were closed due to the long Easter weekend. It is as yet unclear where the medicinal cannabis is being imported from, possibly the Netherlands or Israel.
However, the decision has also received some criticism denouncing the growing and importation regulations as they will lead to prices rising unnecessarily for patients.
By April 2014, the Czech Republic should have a fully operative production and distribution system of medicinal cannabis, most probably based on the Israeli model, with its state farms under close monitoring.
By Earl O’Frogherty