Ukraine Eyeing International Cannabis Market While Fighting Off Russians
Ukraine is pushing ahead to develop a domestic cannabis industry as the country’s confidence surges in the wake of the push-back against the Russian invaders.
Jeremy Santora, Leafwire
25 September 2022, 07:00:00
Ukraine is developing a cannabis strategy in the shadow of the war it is fighting against invading Russian troops. The country is looking to capitalize on the health benefits of cannabis in a post-traumatic stress environment, and is also positioning itself as a potential major supplier of hemp seed.
Leafwire reports that cannabis activist group Freedom March has received a sympathetic ear from the Ukrainian government, with Healthcare Minister Viktor Liashko writing on Facebook on 7 June 2022 that the Cabinet of Ministers had approved a bill to regulate “the circulation of cannabis plants for medical, industrial purposes, scientific and scientific-technical activities to create the conditions for expanding the access of patients to the necessary treatment of cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from war.”
Liashko said this bill would ensure a “full cycle of cannabis-based drug production in Ukraine,” leading to the development of a domestic cannabis industry in Ukraine, rather than depending on imports.
This would be a major change within the global market. In the status quo, Ukraine’s role in the cannabis market is very limited. Ukraine does not supply any cannabis for the medical market, but rather exports hemp seeds for cultivation across Europe. If this bill were to pass, Ukraine would have “a leading position among hemp suppliers” and “would lead to the revival and development of Ukraine’s processing industry.”
Prior to the outbreak of the war, Ukraine’s government was pursuing cannabis legalization. In the fall of 2020, the Zelensky administration issued a study finding that two million Ukrainian cancer patients could benefit from medical cannabis since it provides a safe alternative to addictive painkillers.
In July 2021, the Ukrainian parliament voted on bill 5596 which would legalize cannabis for medical use. However, the bill failed to reach enough votes to be passed. Only 184 members voted in favor, with 33 voting against and 61 abstaining. As a result, the bill was sent back to be revised.
The Zelensky administration followed up in October 2021, holding a nation-wide poll in which over sixty percent of respondents supported cannabis legalization.
In the following December, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the governing body of the UN Office on Drugs & Crime, struck cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the international treaty which regulates drug control policy.
In January 2022, the international rescheduling of cannabis in conjunction with popular support, led the Zelensky’s Cabinet of Ministers to introduce a bill to the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, with the intent of legalizing cannabis for medical use. The bill intends to legalize herbaceous cannabis flower for use, but place the importation and distribution of cannabis under the jurisdiction of the national police. However, with the outbreak of the invasion, legalization efforts were put on the backburner.
This would begin to change on 7 April 2022 when Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers issued a decree legalizing certain cannabis products for medical use. This includes THC analogues such as dronabinol, which treats weight loss in AIDS patients and chemotherapy-induced vomiting and nausea; nabilone, which also treats nausea caused by chemotherapy; and nabiximols, a THC-CBD extract used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
This decree builds on years of progressive activism within Ukraine. Since 2005, Freedom March, a progressive drug policy advocacy group, has led demonstrations throughout Ukraine in support of legalization and to defend the rights of medical cannabis patients. Since the outbreak of the invasion, a majority of Freedom March members have engaged in resistance to the Russia invasion. Some have taken up arms to fight on the front lines, while others have provided humanitarian aid in cities under attack by Russian forces.
As part of its humanitarian mission, Freedom March launched Cannabis Stands with Ukraine, a fundraising campaign to secure donations from the global cannabis community. Freedom March has outlined two key causes to support with the money they fundraise: first, to provide shelter, food, and physical and mental recovery to children who were injured or lost their parents in the war; second, Ukraine’s medical cannabis patients who’ve experienced medication shortages due to the conflict.
“Together with our friends from the local community, we are working to find a way of providing CBD-based medication to those who need it urgently: epileptic patients and wounded soldiers above all,” says Nazarii Sovsun, a member of Freedom March. “Hopefully, this war makes it obvious to our politicians that people should have access to medical cannabis, so we are active on the legal front, as well.”
Akanda Abandons the Battle for Bophelo and Pulls the Plug on Lesotho
Lesotho now sliding way off radar of international cannabis investor interest.
Amsterdam Cannabis Expo Due This Weekend Exposed as the Latest Scam in the Industry!
Trend-setting conference exposed as a fabrication, scammers lift money off potential exhibitors
Cannabis in South Africa: The People’s Plant
We are a civil society organisation with the interests of the existing Cannabis industry and the Human Rights of ALL citizens at heart.
Resources & Equipment
Explore cannabis growing equipment for growing weed at home.
Whether you’re just starting out, or you’re looking to enhance your outdoor or indoor weed grow setup – we have the perfect range of cannabis growing equipment to match your marijuana growing ambitions.
Find everything from LED grow lights, grow tents, fans, and hydroponic setups, to environmental equipment and controls, harvesting accessories, extraction equipment and plenty more.
Design your ideal cannabis growing setup with high quality growing equipment available in South Africa.
Explore cannabis growing equipment we’ve curated from reliable online suppliers in South Africa