The Czech Republic’s parliament legalized medical marijuana this year by an overwhelming majority, with the law becoming effective April 1. But some 20,000 patients who are estimated to be eligible for cannabis treatment have no chance to get it legally — although so far police have largely ignored renegade growers who technically would face prison. Patients and medical experts blame interference by the Health Ministry, which has long fiercely opposed legalizing medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana may soon be legally sold and available via doctors' prescriptions, with senators overwhelmingly approving the legislation in a 60-7 vote Jan. 30. The bill, which now awaits a presidential signature, marks a major step toward official acceptance of marijuana use in the country, after the Cabinet of Prime Minister Jan Fischer decriminalized possession of "small amounts" of marijuana for personal use in 2009.
The Czech Senate approved a bill allowing for the legal sale of cannabis for medical purposes, affirming a decision of the country’s lower house of parliament. The proposal, which enjoys very strong support from all political parties in both houses of parliament, should become law later this year, pending an expected presidential signature. But there’s a catch: the text of the bill says that only imported cannabis will be allowed for sale in the first year “to ensure standards.”