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Ukraine Medical Cannabis Legalisation Breakthrough

After hundreds of amendments were submitted, a controversial bill has been passed in Ukraine to legalise medical cannabis.

The Verkhovna Rada (unicameral parliament) of Ukraine supported Bill 7457 at its first reading in July 2023. In its second reading on Thursday December 21, the Bill was passed with 248 representatives voting in favor.

Commenting on the passing of the legislation, Ukraine Health Minister Viktor Liashko said (translated):

“This is the decision millions of people have been waiting for: cancer patients, people with multiple sclerosis, patients receiving palliative care, etc. All of them got a chance at a better quality of life. This is a great victory for humanism and the beginning of a long journey to implement all voted norms. Lots of work ahead, but the first important step is done.”

The bill now goes to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for his signature – and that’s likely to happen as President Zelenskyy has previously signalled strong support for legalizing medical cannabis in his country.

As for next steps beyond the President’s signoff, Minister Liashko said the Ministry of Health will approve a list of illnesses and conditions for which a patient can be prescribed medical cannabis-based medication by a doctor, and the forms in which it can take.

Mr. Liashko said Ukraine will strictly control the distribution of cannabis-based medicines and its use for recreational purposes will remain prohibited. It’s expected the law will come into effect in six months.

While a hot topic in Ukraine for some years, movement on legalising medical cannabis accelerated after Russia’s invasion of the country in 2022.

Given the war, cannabis could play a significant role in dealing with some of the fallout – such as helping to manage Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. But it remains to be seen if PTSD will be among the qualifying conditions. The availability of conventional medicines is an ongoing challenge in the country, and the introduction of medicinal cannabis could go some way towards addressing the situation.

While initially depending on imports, Bill 7457 allows for local cultivation, processing and preparation of cannabis and derived medicines. It appears the focus will be on hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD).

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

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