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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Derails Plans to Legalize Medical Cannabis

President Volodymy Zelenskyy initiated a nationwide referendum in October 2021 in which one of the questions was “Do you support the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes – to reduce pain in critically ill patients?”. There was a resounding 65% in favour and 30% against with the galance undecided.    Former Minister of Health Ulana Suprun wrote on her official Facebook page that “Cannabis should be available to all patients who need it. There are about 2 million such patients in Ukraine.” 


Only last month Mykhailo Radutskyi, MP from the Servant of the People parliamentary faction, a member of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Public Health, Medical Assistance and Medical Insurance, said in an interview with Ukrinform.

 “The government bill on the legalization of medical cannabis has already been published for discussion… This document will be registered. It will come to our committee. I hope that the committee’s members will support it,” 

He noted that the government bill differed from the bill proposed by the committee members and sent for revision, in particular, in strengthening the control of the National Police of Ukraine over the circulation of cannabis. In addition, according to Radutskyi, the wording of the document initiated by the Cabinet of Ministers more clearly defines the essence of medical cannabis and the procedure for its import.

“There were many narratives in society that it was allegedly the drug legalization. Neither the bill sent for revision, nor the new government’s bill has a single word about drug legalization. It’s just medical cannabis,” he said.

Radutskyi expressed hope that the Verkhovna Rada would adopt the document in 2022.

However, these plans have been overtaken by the events of the past five days and nothing about Ukraine’s future, let alone cannabis legalization, is certain.

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