The Ukraine’s Secret Weapon – Legalizing Medical Marijuana ImmediatelyJune 20, 2022
On the 7th of June 2022, a report from Viktor Lyashko, the Minister of Health revealed that Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers is in support of the bill that would enable cannabis-related drug firms to operate in the country. The mmj situation has been actively debated in Ukraine since 2017 when data suggests there’s been an increase in patients who need cannabis-based drugs. By 2021, the number has greatly increased with over 2 million people confirmed to need cannabis-based drugs. And now, considering the full-scale invasion of the country, the number has surged significantly.
The Cabinet of Ministers has now concluded that delaying the issue is no longer an option, especially with the Russian invasion going on now. This is why the Ukraine authority is establishing a legitimate framework that will monitor the production of marijuana-based drugs in the country. The government will actively monitor both the cultivation of cannabis and the production of resulting drugs.
The Ukraine government has also affirmed that experts are designing a mechanism to distribute and sell the drugs. Hence, there shouldn’t be concerns about drug trafficking as sales will be highly monitored and regulated. Viktor Lyashko, in a Facebook post, noted that the authorities recognize the negative impact of war on mental health. As such, they believe a lot of people will be needing medical treatment as a result of the war.
He further explained that opponents of the bill, who are against medical cannabis in the country intentionally compare illegal cannabis with cannabis-based medicines. He believes it is an attempt to negate the medical benefits of cannabis and to disprove its use in medicine.
The Purpose of the Bill
The bill aims to help promote quality medical services for individuals treating various health conditions using palliative medicine. The bill would also facilitate researchers to carry out more studies on the medical use of cannabis. Patients will also get more access to various treatments for over 50 health conditions courtesy of the bill. Patients who suffer from PTSD, chronic pain, cancer, and neurological diseases will have a chance for treatment once the bill is enacted.
Subsequently, the bill also put in place strict regulations and supervision over the growth, production, distribution, and sale of cannabis-based medical products. The bill will see to the licensing and authorization for the economic activities concerning the growth of cannabis strains for scientific research and medical purposes. This will also include a tracking system for medical cannabis to ensure adequate information of all stages of product distribution is recorded.
The bill will allow patients to buy cannabis-based medical products on a doctor’s prescription and according to the information displayed in the electronic prescription. The bill also grants a central executive unit the authority to determine THC levels in cannabis medical products via lab tests carried out by institutions, organizations, and enterprises.
The journey to medical cannabis legalization
The bill, in truth, has come a long way, having been initially tabled to the Ukrainian Parliament in June 2021. However, its first introduction to the house saw it rejected by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine a.k.a the Ukrainian Parliament. The lawmakers initially thought the bill would be approved given the legalization of the use of synthetic THC-based drugs, nabilone, dronabinol, and an iconols in April 2021. But to the lawmakers’ surprise, the Ukrainian Parliament kicked out the bill.
Before the war, a national survey was carried out by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in October 2022. Information from the Ukrainian daily Kyiv Post suggests that the survey proved most Ukrainians to be in support of the organization of medical cannabis. When asked if they approve of medical cannabis legalization, 29.85% of respondents replied ‘no’, while 64.88% replied ‘yes’.
Evaluating the Facebook post from Mr. Liashko, it can be diseases that the war between Russia and Ukraine has boosted the process of medical cannabis legalization. He explained how the bill would establish situations for improving patients’ access to the needed treatment for conditions like cancer and PTSD as a result of the war.
The war invasion of Ukraine has exposed a lot of Ukrainians to huge post-traumatic stress disorder. Experts have warned that the war’s impact has already taken a major toll on young people, children, and the elderly, causing major psychological trauma.
Now more than three months of war and amid mental health breakdown in the country, the Ukrainian government came up with a solution – legalizing medical cannabis. They believe it may be the only option to help the citizens in their process of resilience.
According to the press statement delivered by the country’s Ministry of Health, initial evidence has proven that the use of cannabis-based medical drugs is effective in the treatment of mental disorders. With the stimulating and calming effect of cannabis on the human body, cannabis-based drugs have been proven to help treat anxiety, sleeping disorder, and PTSD.
The Ministry of Health now holds the position that Parliament should further support the bill, pointing out that medical cannabis will ease patients’ suffering and improve their mental state. On the other hand, adult use of cannabis will remain illegal in the country. Its cultivation, production, purchase, distribution, sale, and other recreational cannabis-related activities trigger penal or administrative violations.
Medical cannabis legalization in Ukraine does not translate to more accessibility for the average citizen. According to the bill, cannabis-based drugs will be highly monitored and controlled. The drugs can only be obtained by individuals who have medically confirmed diagnoses. Above all, the prescription will be electronic, making it virtually impossible to manipulate. Pharmaceutical chains will also be in charge of monitoring the sales and distribution of drugs while businesses that have to produce drugs from it will need to get a license.
It seems the Ukrainian government has everything planned out. Hopefully, medical cannabis will help relieve the stress of the war on the over 2 million citizens confirmed to need cannabis-based drugs. And above all, this will lead to the beginning of recreational cannabis reform in the country.