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Ukraine considers legalizing medical cannabis: Where marijuana is already legal?

Ukraine considers legalizing medical cannabis: Where marijuana is already legal? Cannabis legalization (Getty Images)

Ukraine might pass a law legalizing medical cannabis this month. The discussion started back in the summer when President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged lawmakers to support the initiative. In many countries, this issue has already been addressed, according to CannaReporter.


Uruguay was the first country in the world to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in 2014. Since then, people aged 18 and older can purchase it only from official outlets after registering in a special database.

The Uruguayan government exempted cannabis purchases from taxes, leaving only value-added tax for sales to maintain price competitiveness compared to the black market. This way, the state earns little from the marijuana sale but reduces risks.


Canada followed suit in 2018, initially legalizing medical cannabis and later recreational use. Each province and territory in Canada has different laws, so the conditions for cannabis use depend on the specific location.

At first, oils, seeds, inflorescences, and marijuana plants appeared. Later, food products and concentrates were put on sale. However, the sale of cosmetic products and creams was prohibited.

Ukraine considers legalizing medical cannabis: Where marijuana is already legal?

Medicines containing medical cannabis are sold in the same form as other medical products (photo:


The Netherlands, known for its liberal policies, includes legal marijuana as part of five medical preparations, available only in pharmacies with special prescriptions. One can possess no more than five grams of cannabis, and cultivation is prohibited. If a Dutch person buys marijuana elsewhere than a pharmacy, it means there is a black market in the state.


Portugal decriminalized all narcotic substances, and it has not led to increased drug use or other consequences. This is how the government decided to fight against the use of hard drugs.

As a result, HIV infection rates, drug overdose deaths, and synthetic marijuana use have dropped in Portugal.

The U.S.

Laws on marijuana vary from state to state in the United States. While possession and use are generally prohibited, some states have legalized it for recreational purposes, such as California, Alaska, Washington, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon, Maine, and Massachusetts.

Only medical cannabis is allowed in states like Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Illinois, and Michigan.

Ukraine considers legalizing medical cannabis: Where marijuana is already legal?

Countries with completely legal use of cannabis are marked in dark green, light green - with only medical use, red is a complete ban (

As of February 2023, cannabis is fully or partially legalized in 40 countries worldwide, including Australia, Israel, South Korea, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, and several African countries.

Australia, for instance, has criteria for prescribing medical cannabis similar to what Ukraine is considering, with some differences in the range of eligible pathologies.

Germany allows prescriptions for any condition without standard treatment or when standard treatment is unsuitable due to reactions or the patient's specific condition.