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Ukrainian Parliament legalizes medical cannabis

Ukraine’s parliament adopts draft law No. 7457, legalizing medical cannabis, while retaining penalties for recreational distribution. Production will be closely monitored, with electronic prescriptions for medical use.
Medical cannabis. Photo: Suspilne

On 12 December, the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) adopted draft law No. 7457, which aims to legalize medical cannabis in the final second reading. The legislation received broad support, with 248 MPs voting in favor, as reported by Yaroslav Zhelezniak, a member of the Holos party.

Suspilne says the bill specifically governs the use of cannabis within the realms of medical, industrial, and scientific practices. The distribution of marijuana for recreational use will continue to be considered a criminal offense and will be investigated by the police under the law.

Medicine production will undergo rigorous oversight throughout its entire production process. Only authorized entities with the requisite licenses and GMP certificates will be permitted to cultivate cannabis, subject to continuous video surveillance accessible to the National Police. Every plant will have a unique code for precise tracking of its journey to the patient.

Medical cannabis-based drugs will be available only with an electronic prescription. This prescription will be issued by a doctor according to the patient’s condition, as is currently the case with morphine.

The law will come into force six months after its publication. According to Zhelezniak, access to cannabis-based medicines should be expected in the second half of 2024.

With the bill approved, Ukraine will start using medical cannabis for patients with cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder, which is especially important during and after the war period for people with physical and mental trauma.

The medical cannabis bill passed its first reading in Parliament on July 13.

The legalization of medical cannabis has wide support, however some were critical. Critics of the step, including MP Dmytro Razumkov, warned of potential corruption in cannabis regulation. Advocacy group Patients of Ukraine argued for access to affordable foreign medicines, while Ukrainian churches opposed cannabis legalization, emphasizing safety concerns.

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