Outgoing czech president Vaclav Klaus has signed a bill making medical marijuana legal in all of the Czech Republic. The bill had vast support from all of the major parties in the country and passed last month by a vote of 67 to 2. Medical Marijuana users can now legally obtain a prescription from their doctor and fill their prescription at pharmacies across the country. This is in stark contrast to the US model which relies heavily on dispensaries which only sell cannabis.
Unfortunately patients will not be allowed to grow their own marijuana plants, and the medicine will not be covered by Czech health insurance companies. In a somewhat awkward move, the legislation only allows marijuana to imported into the country to be used as medicine in an attempt to “control standards”. This has been roundly criticized by many marijuana advocates in the Czech Republic who say the actions will do nothing but empower the black market, and also allow only a handful of companies to profit off the import of the cannabis.
Because of the import tax, as well as the tax associated with it, it will boost the price of marijuana, and it is likely that black market weed will be much cheaper. Some have gone so far to say that corruption within the government took these measures intentionally in order to empower political allies in the black market and mafia forces.
The Czech Republic has some of the world’s most lenient drug laws. There are currently no penalties for possessing under a half ounce of pot, and anyone can grow up to five plants without any worry of criminal charges. These laws also extend to a myriad of other drugs including LSD, and Magic Mushrooms which have also been completely decriminalized for recreational use. In 2012 Czechs not only drank the most beer per capita in the world, but they also have the highest percentage of pot smokers in all of Europe giving it a reputation which embarrassed some in congress. Nonetheless there is no foreseeable change in the future to bring back penalties for the possession of weed or any other drugs as crime rates, and drug rates virtually stayed the same before, and after prohibition was listed.
We can only hope that the legalization of medical marijuana will signal a step in the right direction to the countries surrounding Czech Republic.