Ukraine’s Medical Cannabis Legalization Faces Opposition, Legal Action Looms

Ukraine’s Bid to Legalize Medical Cannabis Faces Obstruction from Parliamentary Faction

Ukraine’s efforts to legalize medical cannabis have hit a major roadblock as the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) parliamentary faction obstructed the approval of the bill. Despite garnering support from 248 deputies of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada on December 21, the bill’s progress is currently on hold until mid-January.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has previously endorsed medical marijuana, recognizing the potential benefits it can bring to the country. However, MP Yaroslav Zalizniak reported on Telegram that the bill is facing resistance from the Batkivshchyna and European Solidarity factions, delaying its progress.

Yulia Tymoshenko, the leader of Batkivshchyna, announced plans to appeal to the Constitutional Court, citing voting irregularities and alleging that the bill “legalizes drug trafficking and the drug mafia in the country.” However, she has not substantiated her claims with evidence. Irina Herashchenko, co-chair of European Solidarity, criticized the bill for its focus on industrial production over medical cannabis and its lack of clear state regulation.

The opposition’s concerns have injected complications into the trajectory of medical cannabis legalization in Ukraine. While the approved legislation permits the circulation of hemp plants and their products for medical purposes, it still faces delays and legal scrutiny before potential implementation.

It is important to note that while medical cannabis legalization is being considered, recreational cannabis remains illicit in Ukraine.

The bill is expected to remain blocked until mid-January, but there is a possibility that Parliament may revisit the issue during this timeframe and potentially unblock it, leading it to the president’s desk for signing. If successful, enactment is anticipated to take place in July 2024.

The legalization of medical cannabis in Ukraine has the potential to bring numerous benefits, including improved access to alternative treatments for patients suffering from various medical conditions. However, the current roadblock posed by the Batkivshchyna faction highlights the challenges and debates surrounding this issue.

It remains to be seen how the situation will unfold in the coming weeks and whether the bill will eventually be approved. As the country navigates its path towards medical cannabis legalization, it is crucial to balance the concerns of different factions while ensuring that patients in need can access the necessary treatments.

Overall, the fate of medical cannabis legalization in Ukraine hangs in the balance, and stakeholders will be closely monitoring the developments in the coming weeks.

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