ua en ru

Verkhovna Rada may legalize medical cannabis soon: Deadlines set

Verkhovna Rada may legalize medical cannabis soon: Deadlines set Mykhailo Radutskyi, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Health of the Nation, Medical Assistance, and Medical Insurance (Photo: RBC-Ukraine, Vitalii Nosach)

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine may pass a law on medical cannabis soon, possibly this month, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Health of the Nation, Medical Assistance, and Medical Insurance, Mykhailo Radutskyi, stated in a comment to RBC-Ukraine.

According to Radutskyi, the government bill on the legalization of medical cannabis, No. 7457, was fully supported for adoption in the second reading with all committee amendments on November 4.

"All comments from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, public, and patient organizations have been taken into account. According to the committee and experts, this bill is the most balanced among the versions that have reached the Verkhovna Rada," said Radutskyi.

He expects that there might be individual deputies who will try to "bring down" this law.

"However, at the same time, I assume that it may be adopted this month," Radutskyi said.

Why is this important?

As explained by a representative of the Verkhovna Rada committee to the agency, the demand for medical cannabis in Ukraine, according to the calculations of the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization, may reach up to 7 million people. This includes military personnel with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) symptoms, cancer patients, those with epilepsy, and wounded military and civilians with pain sensations.

"Currently, there are only two drugs in the world that cost about $380 and 220 euros - the state cannot provide everyone with such drugs. Therefore, the legalization of medical cannabis is happening so that Ukraine can produce medicines based on medical cannabis itself, and oncology patients could receive cannabis-based pain relief instead of morphine," emphasized Radutskyi.

Critics of the bill

At the same time, he noted that all "populist statements by young or old Komsomol members" in the Verkhovna Rada about "turning Ukraine into Colombia" and that "this is the path to the spread of drug addiction" do not withstand any criticism.

"Firstly, the UN has long removed cannabis from the list of narcotic substances. Secondly, the bill provides for rigorous control over storage and circulation, which is absent even in many civilized countries," Radutskyi pointed out.

The document also lifts Soviet restrictions on the production of technical cannabis, as it is used to make cookware, textiles, and many other household items, according to the representative of the Verkhovna Rada committee.

Important detail

"The law stipulates that after its adoption, the government is given six months to develop all subordinate acts and orders for this law to start working," Radutskyi concluded.

Thus, medical cannabis will only be dispensed with an electronic prescription, and it will not be available for free sale. Additionally, it is crucial to note that the bill explicitly prohibits recreational cannabis, according to the interviewee.

Medical cannabis legalization in Ukraine

Ukraine is gradually moving toward the legalization of medical cannabis used in pharmaceuticals. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has also advocated for the legalization of medical cannabis and the use of such medications for anyone in need.

Indeed, the Verkhovna Rada approved in the first reading of bill No. 7457 on legalizing medical cannabis.

However, the project underwent several changes before the second reading, primarily related to access to treatment and enhanced control over the production of cannabis-based drugs.