Ukraine has legalized medical cannabis. What will change?

On December 21, 2023, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine gave its approval in the second reading to the draft law No. 7457, which was considered in July this year. By the votes of 248 parliamentarians, it was decided to legalize medical cannabis in Ukraine. VirusOff looks at what will change, who will be affected by the law, and what are the restrictions.

The document provides for the regulation of cannabis circulation exclusively in the medical, industrial, and scientific fields. An important aspect of the law is strict control over the production of medicines. Legal entities intending to grow cannabis must obtain a license and a GMP certificate. The entire production process will be subject to round-the-clock video surveillance with access for the National Police.

The law also introduces a new mechanism for obtaining medical cannabis-based medicines – they will be available only by electronic prescription. The law will come into force six months after its publication, i.e. approximately in the second half of 2024. As for the support for the bill, its approval almost became a problem, as support dropped to 227 votes before the amendments were made. Nevertheless, the minimum support of 226 MPs was required to pass the bill.

The Ministry of Health explains that medical cannabis will be used in the treatment of people with chronic pain, neurological disorders, and mental disorders. However, the use of medical cannabis is subject to scientific evidence of its effectiveness, and the relevant drugs will be available only by prescription. It will take approximately six months to conduct clinical protocols for the dosage and specific uses of these medicines. In addition, the drugs must be successfully registered in Ukraine.

As a reminder, the draft law on medical cannabis was supported in July this year at the first reading. Earlier, it was also supported by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. In October, the Parliamentary Committee on National Health reviewed more than 800 amendments to the draft law, emphasizing the serious interest in implementing the legalization of medical cannabis in Ukraine.

The passage of this law on the legalization of medical cannabis in Ukraine has several important implications and impacts on the country:

– Medical opportunities:
The legalization of medical cannabis opens up new treatment options for patients, especially those facing chronic pain, neurological disorders, and mental health conditions. The use of cannabis for medical purposes can be an effective tool in the treatment of some diseases.

– Industrial development:
The industrial cultivation and use of cannabis to create products can be a new development industry for the economy. It can create new jobs and accelerate the development of related industries such as pharmaceuticals and science.

– Regulation and control:
The law provides for strict control over the production and circulation of medical cannabis. This will help prevent illegal operations and ensure the quality and safety of cannabis-based medical products.

– Healthcare innovations:
The introduction of new medical cannabis-based products can stimulate innovation in the field of medicine and pharmacy. The research and development of new treatments can lead to improved therapies and higher-quality healthcare services.

– Changing public attitudes:
Legalization of medical cannabis can affect the general attitude of society towards the use of this plant product. It can help break down stereotypes and reduce the stigma associated with the use of cannabis in medicine.

– International reputation:
The decision to legalize medical cannabis can also affect a country’s international reputation. If this step is taken responsibly and in line with international standards, it could improve Ukraine’s status globally.