At the Cannabis Summit conference, Jindrich Voboril warned that the planned legalisation of cannabis in the Czech Republic may end up at the European Court of Justice.
Jindrich Voboril is the Czech Republic’s coordinator for national drug policy. According to him, banning anything is ineffective and simply increases expenses and risks. The draft proposal for cannabis legalisation, prepared by Voboril, includes the authorization of domestic and commercial cultivation of cannabis. Additionally, there is a suggestion for the creation of special clubs for recreational purposes as well as authorised sales in stores for people over the age of 18.
Plans for cannabis in Czech Republic
The government’s strategy to fight addiction includes the development of a controlled cannabis market in Czech Republic. Additionally, it proposes the treatment, prevention, and increased taxation of addictive substances.
A licence would be required for entry into the cannabis market, costing about CZK 50,000 each year for vendors. It is slightly more than 2000 EUR. Czech Republic would also require licence for each 200 square metres of cannabis cultivation space. Individual residents might grow cannabis at home in a space up to three square metres. Pharmacies would be able to sell it as well.
Voboril stated that there are no plans to limit the number of licences granted. However, he did mention that the government coalition is considering limiting the geographic scope of each producer. It is in order to prevent a small number of dominant firms from controlling the cannabis market. He also suggested user registration to restrict the monthly marijuana purchase cap.
Cannabis in Czech Republic – next steps
Voboril wants to have the acceptance for the cannabis legalisation bill by the Chamber of Deputies by the end of the year. He hopes to launch the regulated cannabis market in Czech Republic next year. Another EU member state, however, could challenge the proposal before the European Court of Justice since the Czech government is the only one taking the idea of a commercial market for cannabis for recreational use seriously. Voboril mentioned that if the Czech state loses the legal proceeding, it has other options available, although they may not be as beneficial.
German attorney Kai-Friedrich Niermann is a specialist in European regulation. He underlined the probable legal difficulties associated with commercial cannabis sales under both international and European law. A 1961 international agreement restricts the distribution of marijuana to solely scientific and medicinal uses. But Niermann proposed that this problem may be solved by withdrawing from and then rejoining the agreement with a caveat.
According to European law, it is illegal to distribute marijuana without a justification, but if it is made legal, a justification for the sale will be provided. However, the open movement of products and services throughout the EU is where the issue is. Since other nations are unable to participate, problems arise if only one nation opens the market.
Sean Carney, the conference’s organiser, underlined concerns made by the Christian Democrats in Junior Government (KDU-CSL). However, he also highlighted the value of evidence-based facts. He mentioned that risks would be limited by a regulated market as opposed to the existing situation. Cannabis is now widely available on the illegal market without any assurances of safety or governmental economic gains.