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Ukraine Legalizes Medical Cannabis in Landmark Parliamentary Move




In a groundbreaking decision, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's Parliament, has given the green light to draft law No. 7457, marking the comprehensive legalization of cannabis for medical, industrial, and research purposes. The legislation, which had previously secured approval during its first reading on July 13, witnessed a historic moment today as 248 Members of Parliament voted in favor during its second reading.

While the new law sets forth regulations governing the use of cannabis in medical, industrial, and scientific contexts, it maintains the prohibition of recreational cannabis. The push for the legalization of medical cannabis gained momentum over a year ago when Ukraine's Health Minister, Viktor Liashko, expressed government support amid the ongoing conflict with Russia.

The legislation aims to address the mental health challenges stemming from the conflict, particularly Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), affecting both soldiers and civilians. Scientific studies supporting the potential benefits of medical cannabis for treatment influenced the government's decision.

Under the approved law, the entire supply chain of medical cannabis products will undergo strict regulation and constant monitoring. Only licensed entities with a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certificate will be authorized to produce cannabis-based medicines, with 24/7 video surveillance accessible to the National Police. Each cannabis plant will bear a unique code for traceability.

Electronic prescriptions tailored to individual patient needs will be mandatory for medical cannabis products. The Ministry of Health will outline the approved conditions for cannabis prescriptions to broaden patient access to treatments for specific conditions.

Over two million Ukrainians, and potentially more due to the ongoing conflict's mental health impact, may benefit from medical cannabis products, according to Mykhailo Radutskiy, head of the health care committee in the Ukrainian Parliament.

The legislative move has garnered substantial public support, with over 70% of Ukrainians expressing approval, as noted by Ukrainian MP Maria Mezentseva, deputy head of the Committee on Ukraine's Integration with the EU. She highlighted the significant patient population, including cancer patients, civilians with PTSD, and military personnel, who stand to benefit.

As the law comes into effect six months after its promulgation, business leaders like Michael Sassano, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Somai Pharmaceuticals, and Leslie Bocksor, CEO and Chairman of Indoor Harvest Corp, anticipate opportunities for both healing and economic growth in Ukraine. However, the extent of involvement of non-Ukrainian businesses in the industry remains uncertain, contingent on the law's implementation.

This story was originally published by Forbes.