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Czech Republic Joins Germany in Move to Legalize Recreational Weed

The Czech Republic is working towards legalizing cannabis for adult use. The goal is to coordinate with Germany and share best practices and information for regulation in the cannabis industry.

A bill is underway by the Czech coalition government and is expected to be ready by March 2023. By January 2024, full legalization might go into effect. In September, the government commissioned Czech drug commissioner Jindřich Vobořil to draft the law.

According to Vobořil, Czech officials and the German government are actively consulting and coordinating with each other on their proposals.

Germany Legislation to Legalize Marijuana for Recreational Use

Germany started working on legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis for recreational purposes. The plan sparked debate over cannabis legislation and gave the Czech Republic the push it needed to regulate the cannabis industry within a specific period.

Germany will be the first European country to take this monumental step if it adopts the proposed legislation. The country is the European Union’s largest, based on economic output and population. Its role as a leader in the region can provide a glimpse into how Europe will deal with marijuana in the future.

The proposed legislation allows adults to possess no more than 30 grams of cannabis. Adults can also grow up to three marijuana plants to use personally.

Users can consume marijuana in public or private. Cases will be terminated for anyone facing criminal charges for offenses involving cannabis that won’t be illegal once the legislation passes. Marijuana education, abuse prevention programs, and a special consumption tax will also be created under the plan.

The legislation isn’t likely to include cannabis edibles. However, legislators are exploring this option. The legislation might also limit the amount of THC marijuana users between 18 and 23 years old are allowed. Products must be sold using neutral packaging, and advertising cannabis products for recreational purposes is prohibited.

If approved, licensed establishments, including pharmacies, can sell cannabis. Stores won’t be able to sell alcohol and tobacco products if they sell cannabis. They also can’t conduct business near any schools.

Understanding Cannabis Use in the Czech Republic

One of the most liberal countries regarding cannabis legislation is the Czech Republic. In 2010, it decriminalized the possession of cannabis for personal use. It also legalized cannabis for medical purposes in 2013. However, recreational use continues to be illegal.

The Czech Republic is only one of several European countries that cultivates hemp for industrial purposes. This hemp has up to one percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. Cannabis products for industrial use can only contain a maximum of one percent of THC. Anything higher than that is considered illegal.

Other legislations for EU members limit THC content to approximately 0.2%, except for authorized hemp crops that can use 0.3% of THC for industrial purposes.

Around 30% of adults in the Czech Republic have tried cannabis at some point in their lives. Another eight percent to nine percent of adults use it regularly. Regulations aim to legalize recreational use since so many already include it in their daily lives.

Due to a lack of quality control in the supply chain and control over selling cannabis to individuals under 18, the illegal market remains. Establishing legal production hasn’t occurred yet despite decriminalizing marijuana for personal use.

The country has roughly 800,000 current cannabis users. Experts believe legalizing it has the potential to facilitate significant revenue from the taxation of cannabis consumption.

One of the most prominent cannabis advocates in the country and the smallest political group inside the government coalition, The Czech Pirate Party, estimates products in the cannabis industry could generate approximately €800 million ($782 million) in annual tax revenue. The National Economic Council also believes the Czech Republic can fight high public budget deficits by regulating the legal cannabis industry.

Plans for Regulating Cannabis in the Czech Republic

Vobořil discussed how adults could buy cannabis during an interview with a local news outlet. He explained pharmacies with authorized licenses and licensed dispensaries would sell cannabis. Each municipality would have the power to decide whether to ban or permit local cannabis stores.

Despite decriminalizing marijuana, a black market exists. No one can control how people produce cannabis and who they sell it to. Vobořil believes licensed companies working under strict quality, production, and distribution laws will reduce black market products and decrease the risk of addiction. Dealers would have to apply for a state license.

Plans for how the Czech Republic will coordinate with Germany and the two countries cooperation will affect legislation are unclear. Vobořil hopes to use the same cannabis social club model used in Spain with Czech consumers. He also wants to create a trade partnership between the Czech Republic and German to supply the product. However, plans to legalize cannabis for adult use in Berlin exclude importing cannabis.

In another interview, Vobořil discussed how cannabis consumption through conventional smoking negatively affects a person’s health. He wants to reduce this method as much as possible. Vaporizers and other methods might be safer options for cannabis users.

Attempts to Regulate the Legal Industry by Multiple Countries

In June, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, and Germany met to discuss creating a multilateral exchange within the cannabis industry to share experiences, knowledge, and best practices. According to reports, representatives of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from the Czech Republic also participated in the meeting.

These countries are working together to regulate cannabis, using different grades of legalization for cannabis use.

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