Legalization of marijuana: Will Czechia follow in Germany's footsteps?

Czech officials are due to discuss new regulations on marijuana in the upcoming weeks, which include provisions for non-profit cannabis clubs.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 20.04.2024 15:02:00 (updated on 20.04.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Legalization of marijuana is one of the biggest issues across Europe this year, especially following new laws that took effect in Germany from April. As the debate over cannabis legalization heats up in the neighboring Czech Republic, contrasting perspectives shed some light on the potential future of cannabis regulation in the country.

In January, the Czech government presented a draft of a cannabis regulation bill that included a provision for non-profit cannabis clubs, where users would be able to purchase marijuana after becoming a member.

Cannabis activist Miroslav Vlček, a member of the Czech Association of Cannabis Clubs, discussed the proposed bill and its implications in a recent interview with Info.cz. According to Vlček, a final version of the bill should be debated by MPs in the Czech Chamber of Deputies in the coming weeks for approval.

Cannabis clubs currently function in countries like Malta and Uruguay, and will be able to operate in Germany from July under the country's new regulations. German cannabis clubs will be open to adult residents of the country, who will be able to purchase a set amount of marijuana from other members per day (25 grams) and per month (50 grams).

Czech native Wenzel Václav Červený, who advocated for the legalization of marijuana in Germany for decades, plans to open his own cannabis club in Munich later this year. But he has been having difficulty with strict Bavarian regulations that limit the consumption of cannabis in public spaces, including at Oktoberfest.

In the Czech Republic, similar regulations are set be discussed within the coming weeks as the country looks to adopt new laws on cannabis. According to Vlček, the time is now: with a lack of legal options, synthetic and potentially dangerous variants have flooded the market in recent years. Czechia recently banned HHC and has moved to ban additional substances, but will struggle to keep up with newly-derived synthetics.

Jakub Frydrych, director of the Czech Republic's National Anti-Drug Headquarters, has expressed concerns about the implications of legalizing marijuana. "Nobody wants Prague to become a new Amsterdam," Frydrych quipped in a debate on the iDnes.cz program Rozstřel.

But according to Jana Michailidu, a member of the Government Council for Coordination of Drug Policy, legalization of cannabis could also bring billions of tax dollars to the state budget.

"We think that substances that show low social harm, with availability on the commercial market and relevant taxation, could bring much-needed money to the state budget, including for the long-term underfunded network of addiction and preventive services. That's where the money is desperately lacking," Michailidu responded.

Should marijuana be legalized in the Czech Republic?

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"We are largely inspired by Germany. What we will be designing in the near future looks very similar."

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