ua en ru

Ukrainian Parliament legalizes medical cannabis

Ukrainian Parliament legalizes medical cannabis Verkhovna Rada legalizes medical cannabis (Vitalii Nosach, RBC-Ukraine)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

The Verkhovna Rada has voted in favor of legalizing medical cannabis in Ukraine in the second reading. Bill No. 7457 was adopted by 248 votes in total, according to MP Yaroslav Zhelezniak.

How MPs voted

Voting by factions:

  • Servant of the People - 178
  • European Solidarity - 0
  • Fatherland - 0
  • Platform for Life and Peace - 10
  • For the Future - 7
  • Holos - 19
  • Dovira - 12
  • Restoration of Ukraine - 12

In total, 248 MPs voted in favor.

Results of the vote in the Rada for the legalization of medical cannabis in the second reading (t.me/yzheleznyak)

"The law comes into force six months after its publication. Therefore, this is somewhere in the second half of 2024," Zhelezniak writes.

What cannabis legalization means

Ukraine has been on a long and gradual path to legalizing medical cannabis, which is used in the production of medicines. Now, after the adoption of the bill, the government is given six months to develop all the bylaws and orders to make this law work.

Medical cannabis will be sold only by electronic prescription, and will not be available for free sale. And what is also important: the draft law explicitly prohibits recreational cannabis (in simple terms, used exclusively for "pleasure").

At the same time, the use of cannabis for medical purposes is a widespread global practice, and its medicinal properties are recognized by the entire civilized world.

Cannabis-based medicines are used to reduce pain, muscle spasms, and cramps, and treat anorexia, PTSD, and anxiety disorders. It is also used to treat certain types of epilepsy, glaucoma, psoriasis, parkinsonism, and multiple sclerosis.

In addition, it is used to relieve pain and suffering in seriously ill and palliative care patients, including cancer patients and patients with HIV. Taken together, medical cannabis can be used to help patients with Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, severe chronic pain, and nausea.

Why this is important

As Mykhailo Radutskyi, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Health, Medical Assistance and Medical Insurance, previously explained in a comment to RBC-Ukraine, the need for medical cannabis in Ukraine, according to the Ministry of Health and WHO, can reach up to 7 million people.

These include military personnel with PTSD symptoms, cancer patients, epilepsy patients, wounded soldiers, and civilians with pain.

"And there are only two drugs in the world that cost about 380 dollars and 220 euros - the state will not be able to provide everyone with such drugs. That's why medical cannabis is being legalized so that Ukraine can produce medicines based on medical cannabis on its own and so that cancer patients can, for example, receive cannabis painkillers instead of morphine," Radutskyi emphasized.

Critics of the bill

However, a significant number of Ukrainians oppose the legalization of medical cannabis. However, Radutskyi rejected all populist statements that Ukraine is allegedly "turning into Colombia" and that "this is a way to spread drug addiction."

In particular, medical cannabis contains cannabidiol, which has no pronounced psychoactive effect, so it is not interesting for recreational use.

The Rada explains that the UN has long since removed cannabis from the list of the most dangerous drugs. Secondly, the bill provides for very strict control over storage and trafficking.

The document also removes Soviet restrictions on the production of industrial hemp, as it is used to make tableware, textiles, and many other household items.