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Ukraine Legalizes Cannabis: Navigating Health, Access, and Economic Recovery Amidst War

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In a groundbreaking move, Ukrainian lawmakers voted on December 21, 2023, to legalize the medical use of cannabis. This decision comes amid an ongoing war with Russia, prompting activists and supporters to advocate for alternative treatments, particularly for soldiers wounded in the conflict. Lance C. Lambert, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Grove Bags, recently shared his insights on Ukraine's bold step and its potential impact.

Lance C. Lambert has over a decade of experience in the legal cannabis industry. He currently serves as the CMO of Grove Bags. His extensive background in digital media and marketing, including stints with renowned companies like Weed Maps and The Cannabist, positions him as a seasoned professional in the field. According to Lambert, Ukraine's decision to tap into the economic potential of medical cannabis during such dire times is crucial for both patient health as well as post-war economic recovery.

What are Your Views on the Potential Effect on Neighboring Countries?

I believe that Ukraine's move is likely to have a domino effect on neighboring countries, and we are likely to see a number of them make similar moves. I acknowledge the significance of this decision, especially considering the ongoing war. President Zelensky's support for cannabis legalization to address war-related issues, including PTSD, aligns with a global trend where countries are increasingly recognizing the medical benefits of cannabis.

Do You Foresee Access Challenges and What Would be the Solution to This?

While legalization is a significant step, I do foresee a potential challenge of ensuring access to medical cannabis for deserving patients. Domestic sourcing to meet demand may take considerable time due to the need to scale up and adhere to EU GMP standards. This may take anything between six to eighteen months; a very long time to keep patients waiting. I would suggest international sourcing for a start. Neighboring countries such as Germany, Switzerland, and Canada are potential suppliers who could provide Ukraine with a soft landing as they put structures in place to produce locally for their market.

What is Ukraine's Unique Position in the Global Cannabis Market?

With Ukraine's substantial population of nearly 38 million people, I envision the country as a significant potential market. Hopeful thinking is that I see Ukraine  becoming a potential medical cannabis tourist destination, this will greatly contribute to economic revitalization. However, I do not see Ukraine becoming a cannabis epicenter. Israel has already taken up the slot for medical and scientific cannabis research. Germany on the other hand is the undisputed king of cannabis having the highest population and GDP. Ukraine, much like Malta and Luxembourg, has that special element of being an early legal market and hence may utilize this position to attract many people to support it.

What Would be Some Practical Steps for a Smooth Roll Out?

The biggest thing would be to pay close attention to neighboring countries that have had success in establishing medical cannabis programs. Switzerland is a good example to  borrow from. The country saw a drop of over 20% in nicotine consumption when they started making CBD more readily available. People are switching from nicotine to CBD cigarettes.

On the other hand, Germany has very stringent rules when it comes to medical cannabis. For example, if a doctor prescribes a particular cultivar of cannabis for a particular condition, say PTSD, the patient will not be able to switch to a different cultivar. This can be very limiting and I think that this a pitfall that Ukraine should avoid. All in all, benchmarking is a necessary step in this process.

A Parting Shot?

In my final words, I wish to underscore the monetary advantage this move presents, as odd as that may sound. Ukraine will be able to produce their own medicine that can be used locally, which they would have otherwise imported from other countries. Given the current (war) situation, legalizing medical cannabis is not only advantageous to patients but it is good for economic revamping as well. Local production and distribution of medical cannabis should be viewed as a potential avenue of resource generation and hence a means for economic recovery post the war.

Ukraine's journey into medical cannabis legalization, as articulated by Lance C. Lambert, holds promise not only for health-related issues but also for economic recovery in a challenging time. The country's strategic approach and international collaboration may pave the way for a thriving medical cannabis industry.

It was a great pleasure to have this conversation with Lambert. Readers wishing to learn more about What Lance does at Grove Bags are advised to check out their amazing website.

 

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.