The Policy of the Czech Republic in regards to Cannabis

Post date: Dec 22, 2016 8:53:17 AM

The Policy of the Czech Republic in regards to Cannabis 

The Economist claims that the Czech Republic is the most liberal country in Europe in regards to drug use in general and Cannabis (used to produce the recreational drugs marijuana and Hashish) in particular, particularly in the Capital Prague. But the truth is somewhat more nuanced.

On the one hand the state is tolerant towards drug possession and it has ceased to be considered a criminal offense as early as the nineties. The number of deaths in the Czech Republic which are caused by hard drugs is also lower than other states and according to polls 15% of the citizens of the Czech Republic use Cannabis in one form or another. This is one of the highest drug use rates in the world in general and in Europe in particular.

Following a study which demonstrated that the it’s drug criminal justice policy increased the use of drugs, the Czech republic passed in 2010 the non incrimination act (Coll 467/2009). This law places the Czech Republic in the same group as Latvia, Italy, Bulgaria, Spain and other European states that do not pursue prosecution due to the possession of small amounts of Cannabis.

The Czech law permits the possession of small amounts of any drug, such as 5 grams of hashish and 15 grams of Marijuana. Possession of any amount larger than that is considered to be a crime, as does possession of any Cannabis derived drug which contains over 0.3% active ingredient. The Czech Supreme court dropped the permitted amount of the active ingredient of Marijuana to 10 grams.

The following chart summarizes the Drug policy in the Czech Republic.

In addition, the Czech Republic is the site of three yearly Cannabis related events.

And yet, on the other hand, 43% of the drug related offenses in the Czech Republic are Cannabis related and the sale and purchase of drugs remains a criminal offense. The police regularly carries out raids on known Cannabis trafficking locations and delivers citations for drug sales. Smoking in public locations (cafes, pubs, restraunts, etc.) is strictly prohibited absent the explicit and formal permission of the owners, and no smoking in public parks is permitted. Smoking in public places may even result in body searches. While there is no punishment for possessing small quantities of cannabis, possession of larger amounts may result in prison sentences depending on the type of cannabis possessed: growing more than 5 cannabis plants can result in sentences of half a year to 5 years, depending on the amount (clause 285 in the Czech criminal justice code, (Act No. 40/2009). Cannabis plants that are being cured are considered to be Marijuana and their possession results in a sentence passed in accordance to the felony of Marijuana production- a priosn term of one year to ten years, depending on the amount (clause 283). Cured Cannabis is considered to be a drug and it’s possession in large amounts may result in a prison sentence of up to 8 years (clause 284).

Business opportunities and Medical Cannabis in the Czech Republic.

It should also be noted that since 2013, medicinalmarijuana is legal in the Czech Republic, but it’s use is limited for individuals over 18 and as treatment for the following diseases: HIV, cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. Most medical insurance companies in the Czech Republic do not cover treatment with medicinal Marijuana and it is considered to be a expensive product. To date, only a single company has received a permit to grow Medicinal Marijuana, but this is medicinal Marijuana that is only suited for treatment of multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, only one company in the Czech Republic has been granted a license to import Medicinal Marijuana from the Netherlands in the first year of the law’s implementation.

In fact, as of today, the use of medicinal cannabis in the Czech Republic is the province of the rich, who can afford the imported medicinal cannabis, while most patients are left without any available remedy. In order to solve this problem, the growth of medicinal cannabis was initiated in the international research center for medicinal cannabis, but additional solutions, such as the importation of medical cannabis from Israel have also been discussed. To date, the Israeli Ministry of Health has continually refused to authorize the importation of Medicinal Cannabis to the Czech Republic.

To summarize- many view the Czech Republic as a country with a liberal drug policy, especially in regards to Cannabis. Nonetheless, the field of medicinal cannabis in the Czech Republic is an evolving field and the demand for it exceeds the supply.

For additional articles regarding the Czech Republic please review the Conbiz information center