Czech government approves plan for regulated cannabis market

Details of the revised plan have not been released yet, but the introduction of the market would also include steps to fight drug and gambling addiction.


Written by ČTK Published on 06.04.2023 10:07:00 (updated on 07.04.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech cabinet yesterday approved a plan for fighting addictions until 2025. It includes the introduction of a strictly regulated cannabis market based on rules drafted by an expert group. The plan also addresses addiction to other drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and gambling.

The plan still has to pass through both houses of the Czech parliament and be signed by the president before it becomes law.

National anti-drug policy coordinator Jindřich Vobořil previously said that the plan would have five priorities. One of them will be a controlled cannabis market. Another one is the tax policy, which could bring Czechia up to CZK 15 billion a year.

The remaining three priorities are prevention and treatment, promoting the relevant steps in the EU, and preparing for possible impacts, he said.

Plan to be based on expert input and international experience

Fiala said the ambition of the newly approved action plan is to revise the regulation model for addictive substances and the gambling market depending on how harmful they are. Fiala's government states in its program statement that it wants to proceed against addictions according to scientific findings.

"The action plan reckons with the preparation of a proposal for a strictly regulated cannabis market in Czechia," Prime Minister Petr Fiala said.

The action plan outlines a balanced approach to anti-drug policy and corresponds to international experience, Fiala added. Its measures aim to prevent risks and restrict the accessibility of addictive substances for children and juveniles under 18, he said.

Vobořil was originally expected to submit a draft plan by the end of 2022, but he received about a hundred comments from institutions such as the Health Ministry and Finance Ministry, which caused a delay in the procedure.

Taxes would bring billions to the state budget

The full details of the revised plan have not yet been released. The original plan included an increase in the spending on prevention and treatment to about CZK 1 billion instead of the current CZK 300 million.

A new agency for prevention and treatment would be established and the network of services extended.

The state may gain up to CZK 4 billion from the sales of cannabis products and licenses. Taxing nicotine pouches and e-cigarettes is to be lower than classical cigarettes and might bring up to CZK 1 billion for the state budget a year.

The state may gain up to CZK 7 billion by bringing the tax on heated tobacco products closer to that on tobacco for smoking.

Efforts to further limit the black market for alcohol and tobacco and stop illegal gambling could add CZK 3 billion to the state budget, according to the original plan.

Czechia now collects some CZK 60 billion in excise tax on tobacco products and CZK 13 billion in alcohol tax. The national budget gets CZK 5.1 billion from gambling tax and municipal budgets gain CZK 4.9 billion.

Society loses between CZK 150 billion and CZK 180 billion a year due to the impact of addictions on health and other areas of life.

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