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Zelenskyy signs law legalizing medical cannabis in Ukraine

Zelenskyy signs law legalizing medical cannabis in Ukraine President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Photo: Vitalii Nosach, RBC-Ukraine)
Author: Daria Shekina

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signed a law legalizing medical cannabis in Ukraine. It will come into effect six months after publication, according to the website of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament).

On the evening of Thursday, February 15, information about the president signing the law appeared on the bill's card.

This law will help regulate the circulation of cannabis only in medical, industrial, and scientific activities in Ukraine. It will simplify the medical use of drugs containing cannabis.

The bill provides for:

  • The distribution of marijuana for recreational use will continue to be considered a crime and will be investigated by the police in accordance with the law.
  • Drug production will be controlled at all stages.
  • Only legal entities that receive the appropriate license and GMP certificate will be able to grow cannabis, under 24-hour video surveillance with access to the National Police.
  • Each plant will have individual coding to track the movement of plants to the patient.
  • Medicines based on medical cannabis can only be obtained with an electronic prescription issued by a doctor according to the patient's condition, as is currently the case with morphine.

What happened before:

At the end of December, deputies from the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) faction registered a resolution in parliament to cancel the decision of the Verkhovna Rada to adopt in the second reading and in general the bill on the legalization of medical cannabis.

Yes, the parliament will be able to unblock its signing only in mid-January next year. Then we will have to wait for the president's signature. Considering that the law comes into force only after six months, it will start working no earlier than July 2024.

Legalization of medical cannabis in Ukraine:

Back in February 2023, the relevant committee of the Council supported the bill on the use of medical cannabis. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also advocated for the legalization of medical cannabis and the use of such drugs for anyone who needs them.

On December 21, 2023, the Ukrainian parliament voted in the second reading to legalize medical cannabis in the country, allowing the use of hemp-based drugs, their production, and scientific research. In total, 248 deputies voted in favor.

Now, after adoption, it will take six months for the law to take effect. Thus, the government is given six months to develop all sub-legislative acts, and orders, for this law to take effect.