Czechia to unveil cannabis regulation laws in March

Taxes on cannabis could potentially add billions of crowns to the Czech coffers, but regulation of sales would be very strict. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 24.01.2023 07:30:00 (updated on 23.01.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

A draft law on regulating the growth and sale of cannabis in Czechia should be ready by March, and the law could take effect already this year. Money raised from taxes would go to support substance-abuse prevention programs.

An expert group presented its first ideas for regulating the cannabis market to the Government Office at the end of last week. While not yet in its final form, the proposal so far calls for the state to register users, self-growers, and hemp associations. It will also grant licenses for production, distribution, and dispensing.

“We propose taxing cannabis and collecting funds for licensing. We are counting on a significant income for the state budget. At the same time, I hope that we will subsequently agree with the government on some allocation of funds for prevention," national anti-drug coordinator Jindřich Vobořil said, according to the Czech government's website.

Vobořil previously said that the state budget could receive billions of crowns per year from taxes.

The cannabis market will be more regulated than tobacco products, he said, adding that Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Malta are taking similar paths.

Vobořil said that as of last year, there were an estimated 1 million cannabis users in Czechia. “Most of them function normally in life. So it is an established but illegal market. This is also why it is important to choose a strictly regulated market instead of repression and criminal penalties,” he said. According to the annual report on illegal drugs, up to 34 percent of Czechs over the age of 15 used cannabis last year.

Vobořil has long been promoting the introduction of a legal cannabis market under strict conditions that control production, distribution, and sales.

Rules under discussion since last year

The expert group has been discussing how to set rules since last year. It first met last November. The next meeting should take place on Feb. 2. The resulting proposal discussed by the ruling coalition parties and the government in the spring. After that, the text of the proposal would be finalized before and sent to Czech parliament for a vote.

While the government did not specifically include regulating the cannabis market in its legislative plans for this year, it did count on dealing with addiction based on scientific findings. The government promised to provide money for prevention and services. The government's program called for regulating addictive substances according to the degree of their harmfulness. This regulation should take consumption taxes into account, according to ČTK.

The draft anti-addiction plan for three years until the end of 2025, which the anti-drug coordinator presented last October, anticipates the introduction of a regulated cannabis market.

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