Cannabis experts in Ukraine suggest that it might take several years before the domestic cultivation of cannabis is operational within the country. The Ukrainian Parliament, Verkhovna Rada, recently granted approval for a draft law, marking a crucial step toward establishing a legal framework for the medical cannabis industry.
The legislative action could open up import-export prospects for foreign and local companies looking to balance supply and demand, especially in the early phases of the Ukrainian market. However, despite Verkhovna Rada’s approval of the legislation, significant groundwork remains before medical marijuana can be legally sold in Ukraine. This is because the measure provides a broad outline of what constitutes acceptable business operations, but it is devoid of particular guidelines.
What’s certain is that medical marijuana distribution will take place through pharmacies and will be administered to patients with specific conditions who have prescriptions from physicians. This strategy is more in line with European regulatory models that prioritize pharmaceuticals than it is with North American regulatory frameworks that prioritize private enterprise and accessibility.
Ukraine has established a rigorous timeline for putting the law into effect. Six months after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gives his approval — he is anticipated to approve the measure soon — it will go into force. Draft regulations should be created no later than three months after Zelenskyy’s approval, in accordance with the law.
Even though the law’s specifics are still unknown, Ukraine has made great strides toward developing a working medicinal cannabis market. Independent European medicinal marijuana adviser Hanna Hlushchenko highlights the necessity for the government to establish licensing standards. She is working in tandem with the Ukrainian Association of Medical Cannabis to help formulate the rules.
According to Hlushchenko, Ukraine will most likely enact regulations comparable to those in Europe, thus making cannabis a pharmaceutical sector. She also adds that facilities looking to grow and distribute medical cannabis must adhere to pharmaceutical supply chain laws and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guidelines. GMP is a rigorous quality-control accreditation commonly used in pharmaceutical production.
A European health authority’s GMP accreditation is usually necessary for export-oriented medical cannabis businesses. Merely meeting this requirement might cause future Ukrainian farmers to have to wait longer. Hlushchenko hopes that, if everything goes according to plan, authorized producers will start growing cannabis in Ukraine by late 2026 or early 2027. As for imports, she is optimistic that they might start by 2025, provided more work is done and President Zelenskyy gives his assent.
The possibility of Ukraine opening the door to medical cannabis imports presents North American companies such as Trulieve Cannabis Corp. (CSE: TRUL) (OTCQX: TCNNF) tantalizing opportunities that they could leverage in their bid to expand their global footprint.
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