A bill that allows doctors to prescribe marijuana to patients with certain conditions, including cancer, Parkinson's and MS, was overwhelmingly passed by the Czech upper parliament Wednesday with 67 votes out of a possible 81.
All that is left is for Czech President Václav Klaus to sign the bill into law - which he is expected to do. That's great news for patients suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's and psoriasis in that country - all conditions approved for medical cannabis recommendations from a doctor.
But here's the odd part: unlike over here in America where state medical marijuana laws almost all require that cannabis is locally-grown, the Czech government would require all marijuana in the first year to be imported - some reports say from either Israel or Holland. Supporters of the bill say it gives them time to establish quality standards. Eventually licenses will be issued for growers, limited to five years.
Critics point out that such a rule would do nothing of the sorts and force otherwise legal patients into supporting black market drug trade for the next year. Patients will not be allowed to grow their own medicine under the new law.
senat.cz Czech Senator Alena Gajduskova.
Czech Senator Alena Gajduskova told the Wall Street Journal that she supports medical marijuana and voted for the bill, but that she was disappointed with how personal cultivation was left off the table.
They should allow "grandmother growers" already cultivating cannabis to provide for themselves, she said. Drug laws are already pretty lax in the Czech Republic, and personal possession of up to a half-ounce and cultivation of fewer than six plants is only punishable by a small fine.
"These medicines are proven; they're very efficient but shouldn't be a luxury good. That is completely unacceptable," Gajduskova said.
Previous Toke coverage of the Czech Republic's move for medical marijuana: "Czech Republic Moves To Legalize Medical Marijuana"; "Czech Parliament Approves Medical Marijuana"