As the American war on Marijuana gets a fresh new boost from President Obama and thousands of California medical marijuana jobs (along with millions in taxes) are thrown away for the sole purpose of repressing personal choice, elsewhere on earth, governments are starting to see the light. Most recently, a comprehensive medical marijuana program in Israel has been started and a sizable political party in the U.K. has called for legalization. Now the Czech Republic is gearing up to remove marijuana from their version of the Controlled Substances Act.
The Czech Ministry of Health has said that Marijuana will no longer be on the list of banned substances and they will allow it to be prescribed by doctors. Deputy Health Minister Martin Plíšek said, “by the end of this year we will submit to parliament an amended law on addictive substances which will move marihuana from the list of banned substances to the list of those which can be prescribed.”
The driving force behind this change is said to be the overwhelming evidence of marijuana’s beneficial effects in treating cancer, Parkinsons’ disease, and other illnesses. Not only that, but evidence shows that more and more Czechs are growing marijuana in their homes and using it as a home remedy as there has been no medical program in place. Hydroponic shops are popping up everywhere in the country now and even in small towns there are shops selling top-of-the-line growing equipment.
The Ministry is still hashing out the details as to how they can implement this new system in the best way possible. Currently they are leaning towards importing the marijuana rather than allowing people to grow in their own at home. Minister Plíšek argues in favor of taking “steps to ensure that there is no massive abuse without a doctor’s prescription.” While importing all the product may seem like a good way to avoid people abusing the system, at the same time it limits the variety to what the Ministry says is okay for consumption. Medical patients need access to a wide variety of cannabis as no two strains treat ailment the same way and the effects of each strain differ from person to person.
Now, while it is great seeing the Czech authorities taking steps in the right direction, they also seem to have a ways to go before they truly understand how Marijuana affects each individual user. Some strains treat specific illnesses and if someone with Parkinsons’ disease only has access to strains that aren’t known to help, what good is it to have a prescription? But hey this is a solid start and we should savor even the smallest win, as each small victory sets us further down the path to the end of the drug war. Congrats are definitely in order for to Czech marijuana activists.
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