EXPLAINED: What Czechia's new bill on regulating cannabinoids sales means

The Czech lower house today passed a law that could see substances such as kratom, HHC, and low-THC cannabis sold in a regulated manner.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 03.05.2024 17:02:00 (updated on 04.05.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

In a tightly contested vote in the Chamber of Deputies Friday afternoon, Czech members of parliament passed a new law that will regulate the sales of substances such as kratom and cannabis with a low content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The main goal of the amendment is to prevent their sale to children.

How did we get here?

Earlier this year, Czechia made the possession and sale of anything more than a small quantity of hexahydrocannabinol (HHC), a psychoactive substance derived from cannabis, illegal after public health concerns about its effect on children.

The state wants to continue effectively regulating cannabis products by categorizing psychoactive substances based on their level of risk. In essence, this would allow adults to purchase less-risky substances (like kratom or cannabis with low THC levels) while forbidding under-18-year-olds to do so.

You can currently buy general cannabinoid (CBD) products in designated Czech stores, but not THC products.

What does the new law entail?

The government wants to create three categories of narcotic substances: those that are outright prohibited (this already exists), those that contain psychoactive ingredients with unknown health effects, and those that include psycho-modulating substances with a low health risk. 

According to the amendment, adults would be allowed to buy products in the last category (such as kratom) in specialized stores (unlike grocery stores or pharmacies) in which children would not be allowed. The cannabis goods also would not be able to imitate confectionery in any way. Vending machine sales would be banned. The new law will likely see the return of HHC in a regulated way.

The law states that distributors and sellers of psychomodulating substances must obtain a permit from the Ministry of Health and pay an administrative fee of CZK 200,000. In line with an upcoming EU law, a ban on the public advertising of these substances would also apply.

What do politicians say?

Coalition MPs are in favor of the bill – it would stimulate the sales of psychoactive substances, which is economically beneficial, and the bill’s heavy regulatory element would protect children from using and abusing HHC.

However, members of the opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party are against the new law. SPD deputy Jan Síla said he thought the amendment “will enable the sale of addictive substances in the Czech Republic.” An ANO spokesperson also warned of cannabis-related products’ potential adverse health effects.

What happens now?

The Senate will need to approve the amendment, and so too will the European Commission (EC) to ensure the new amendment fully adheres to the EC’s strict laws on the advertising of psychoactive substances, and cross-border sales and exports. President Petr Pavel will then sign it into law.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more