Wednesday, 23 April 2014

MPs approve use of medical cannabis

10 December 2012

Prague, Dec 7 (CTK) - The Czech Chamber of Deputies Friday passed a bill enabling the use of marijuana for medical purposes, namely for mitigation of symptoms of some diseases.

Hemp will be legally available only on e-prescription issued by a doctor, the law says in its provision aimed to prevent hemp's misuse.

The bill will be discussed by the Senate now.

One of the authors of the draft legislation, MP Pavel Bem (unaffiliated, former Civic Democrat, ODS), said the bill is to "make medical hemp accessible to the patients who need it and most of whom use it already now, unfortunately at variance with the Czech law."

Opposing the bill, ODS deputy Boris Stastny said it is a "populist nonsense" that would only lead to more paperwork and would not make "medical hemp better available at all."

If medial marijuana were covered from public health insurance, it would cost the state over one billion crowns a year, Stastny said.

Bem challenged his words saying the legislation does not reckon with marijuana being covered by insurers.

The bill was supported by 126 of 154 deputies present. It was opposed only by Alfred Michalik (senior opposition Social Democrats, CSSD) and six deputies from the senior ruling ODS, including Stastny.

Marijuana can be used, for example, to mitigate the symptoms of cancer, multiple sclerosis, the Parkinson disease and atopic eczemas.

By no means does the bill anticipate a gradual legalisation of "the recreational use of hemp products," Bem said.

Nor does it legalise home-growing of cannabis for medical purposes, which some promoters of marijuana called for, Bem pointed out.

The drug designed for medical purposes should be imported for the first year. Afterwards the market could be entered by domestic growers so that the State Drug Control Institute has time for preparation. The institute is to issue maximally five-year licences for growers, organise tenders for marijuana buyout from growers and check the observance of the marijuana prescription system.

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