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Czech Republic Plans To Legalize Cannabis In Coordination With Germany
Sunday 06 Nov 2022
The Czech Republic is on the way to legalizing adult-use cannabis, and it aims to coordinate with Germany to share information and the best practices to regulate the legal industry.
Following Germany's announcement to legalize cannabis, the Czech Republic has just started to embark on the journey toward cannabis legalization, aiming to harmonize its legislation with Berlin.
The Czech coalition government is drafting a bill to regulate the industry, which is expected to be presented in March 2023, while full legalization may be entered into effect by January 2024.
In September, the government commissioned drug commissioner Jind?ich Vobo?il to draft a law to legalize adult-use cannabis.
Vobo?il announced that Czech officials are in contact with the German government to coordinate and consult each other over their proposals.
"We are in contact with our German colleagues, and we have repeatedly confirmed that we want to coordinate by consulting each other on our proposals," he said in a Facebook post.
The Czech Republic is considered one of the most liberal countries regarding cannabis legislation.
Although its recreational use is still illegal, it decriminalized cannabis possession for personal use in 2010 and legalized medical cannabis in 2013.
Hence, the regulation of the recreational market appears to be a natural path to follow for a country in which about 30% of the adults have tried cannabis, and 8% to 9% use it regularly, according to the Addiction Report released in August by the National Monitoring Center on Drugs and Addiction (NMS).
Despite the decriminalization for personal use, the illegal market still thrives because no legal production has been established, and the supply chain lacks quality control and control of sales to young people under 18.
Some experts believe that legalization has the potential to generate significant revenues from cannabis consumption taxation, taking into consideration that there are about 800,000 active cannabis users in the country.
According to the Czech Pirate Party, the smallest political group inside the government coalition and one of the most prominent cannabis advocates in the country, cannabis products could generate about €800 million ($782 million) in tax revenue annually.
Furthermore, the government's National Economic Council (NERV) suggests that regulating the legal cannabis industry would help the Czech Republic to fight high public budget deficits.
In an interview with a local news media outlet, Vobo?il said that cannabis would be sold in selected pharmacies upon a license's authorization and likely in licensed dispensaries.
Furthermore, municipalities should have the opportunity to decide whether allow or ban cannabis stores.
Although it is still unclear how practically Czech Republic and Germany would coordinate with each other and what effects the cooperation can produce in the respective legislations, Vobo?il aims to establish a cannabis social club's model for Czech consumers, widely used in Spain.
"My colleagues in Germany are talking about permitted quantities, and they don't have the cannabis clubs that we foresee. I certainly want to hold the cannabis clubs until my last breath. This model seems very useful to me, at least for the first few years," he wrote on Facebook.
Vobo?il also wishes to start a trade partnership with Germany to supply each other, although Berlin's plan to legalize adult-use cannabis would exclude imports of cannabis products.
In an interview with the German public, state-owned international broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Vobo?il, explained that he would "try to ensure that as little cannabis as possible is consumed through conventional smoking because that is most damaging to health."
This would suggest that the government might start a campaign to advise cannabis users to consume cannabis through vaporizers or other methods.
Germany's announcement of its plans to legalize adult-use cannabis has already produced significant effects in Europe as it brought back the debate over cannabis legalization and has pushed the Czech Republic to plan to regulate the legal market within a specific timeframe.
At first glance, the Czech's approach to cannabis legalization seems an attempt to follow up a joint meeting held in June between Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, and the Netherlands to discuss the possibility of establishing a structured multilateral exchange to share knowledge, best practices, and experiences to regulate the legal industry.
Representatives of the Czech Republic's Presidency of the Council of the European Union were also reportedly present at the meeting.
Except for Malta, which became the first EU country to legalize adult-use cannabis and cultivation for personal use in late 2021, these countries are working to regulate cannabis, adopting different grades of legalization.
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