Legislators in Ukraine recently gave their final approval for a measure that will legalize the use of medical cannabis nationally. The measure has been forwarded to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s desk, who is in favor of reform, to be signed into law. The law shall come into effect six months after the president signs it.
The measure will legalize medical marijuana use for patients diagnosed with serious illnesses and PTSD linked to the country’s ongoing war with Russia. Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, with experts noting this was an escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian war, which began in 2014.
In order to obtain the needed approval for the legalization, a petition calling for special procedure, which needed the signatures of 150 members, was circulated. Olga Stefanyshina, a member of Parliament, revealed recently that a total of 164 signatures were collected, which cleared the way for the bill’s passage. It should be noted that the bill’s language explicitly lists war-borne, post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer as the only eligible conditions qualifying patients to receive medical marijuana.
Despite this, the health committee’s chair revealed earlier in the year that legislators heard daily from individuals with other ailments, including epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. The measure’s approval reschedules marijuana from a List I drug to a List II drug. While drugs under the former category are strictly prohibited, those in the latter category are available for therapeutic use if one has a prescription.
It is expected that the Ministry of Agrarian Policy will have regulatory authority with regard to marijuana cultivation as well as processing operations. On the other hand, the State Agency on Medicines and the National Police will oversee and enforce authorities associated with the drug’s distribution.
The bill also permits the import of raw marijuana materials from other nations, in an effort to ensure patient access.
In a translation, MP Maria Mezentseva stated that the government leaders had accounted for the various fundamental issues emphasized by colleagues and that it was crucial to not trust fake information that was making the rounds on various social media platforms. Mezentseva added that the law on medicinal marijuana was aimed solely at providing treatment for nationals who truly needed it.
The president discussed his stance on medical cannabis legalization earlier this year. During his address to parliament, Zelensky stated that the most effective policies as well as the best practices and solutions needed to be applied in the country, so Ukrainians didn’t have to endure the stress, pain and trauma of war. He also noted that fairly legalizing marijuana-based medicines for all those who needed them, with appropriate scientific study and controlled production, was key.
Companies such as Tilray Brands Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) (TSX: TLRY) could explore supplying some of the needed medical marijuana products to Ukraine since they already have some experience availing these products to a number of markets within the EU bloc.
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