Czechia to curb addiction by increasing vice tax, regulating cannabis market

The proposed plan envisages the introduction of a strictly regulated cannabis market. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 07.03.2023 10:52:00 (updated on 07.03.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

A three-year draft plan for combatting addiction, which the government will receive by the end of this month, could bring up to CZK 15 billion annually into state coffers, national anti-drug coordinator Jindřich Vobořil told ČTK yesterday. This is because the plan includes new taxation of addictive substances and more effective tax collection.

The last hurdles in the way of the plan’s completion, Vobořil added, were some reservations from the ministries of health and finance, which he said will be tackled this week. “We want to give a plan to the government meeting by the end of the month," the coordinator said.

The draft law would enable “self-cultivation, the establishment of cannabis clubs and establish a model for licensed producers, distributors and sellers,” according to the Czech government’s website. "My ambition still remains for us to eventually have the law in force in 2024," Vobořil said last month.

Drug law enters final stretch

The proposal is calling for the state to register users, self-growers, and hemp associations; grant licenses for production, distribution, and dispensing; and allocate more funds for the prevention and treatment of addictions.

The expansion of the network of addiction services is also part of the plan, with more funds earmarked for programs for alcohol addicts, substitution treatment, research or prevention campaigns.

The government previously said that its approach to addiction was based on scientific findings, and that it would regulate addictive substances according to the degree of their harmfulness. 

More sin taxes

In addition to taxing the cannabis market, Vobořil also plans to make the rules for the taxation of heated tobacco products and smoking tobacco more similar, which is estimated to bring between CZK 3 and 7 billion to the state budget. Taxation for nicotine pouches or electronic cigarettes should be lower than for traditional cigarettes.

Additionally, stamping out the black market for illegal cigarettes and alcohol and more effective tax collection would bring up to CZK 2 billion, while combatting the illegal gambling market would bring up to a billion, Vobořil said.

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