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Ukraine's President Zelensky Enacts Law for Medical Cannabis Use to Mitigate War-Induced Suffering

In a landmark move, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has enacted legislation legalizing medical cannabis, aiming to alleviate the physical and psychological trauma experienced by soldiers amid the ongoing conflict with Russia.

This significant step comes after overcoming legislative hurdles that previously stalled the bill's progress. The approval was finalized by President Zelensky last Wednesday, approximately a month following a failed parliamentary attempt to revoke the reform.

The implementation of this law is anticipated within six months post-official publication. During this interim, the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers and the Health Ministry are designated to establish operational guidelines for the medical cannabis program. Additionally, Ukraine might initiate the importation of cannabis products for medical purposes earlier, following the reclassification of cannabis within the national drug legislation for regulated medical prescription.

The push for medical cannabis legalization gained momentum in December when the legislation received parliamentary approval, despite attempts by the Batkivshchyna party to block its passage through a repeal resolution and the submission of numerous obstructive amendments, all of which were unsuccessful. Garnering 248 votes, the law will permit the use of medical cannabis for patients suffering from severe conditions and PTSD due to the war, with an initial focus on cancer and war-related PTSD, though it opens the door for treatment of other diseases such as Alzheimer’s and epilepsy as indicated by health committee discussions.

The Ministry of Agrarian Policy is tasked with overseeing the cultivation and processing of cannabis, while the National Police and State Agency on Medicines are responsible for regulating its distribution.

President Zelensky has been a vocal advocate for the legalization of medical cannabis, emphasizing the importance of adopting global best practices and effective solutions to ease the war-related suffering of Ukrainians. He highlighted the necessity of legitimizing cannabis-based medications through scientific research and controlled production within Ukraine. His support for medical cannabis was also part of his presidential campaign, advocating for the accessibility of cannabis tinctures for those in need.

This policy shift marks a significant divergence from Russia's stringent anti-cannabis stance, notably criticizing countries like Canada for their progressive cannabis legalization efforts. Through this initiative, Ukraine aims to provide its citizens with necessary relief from the enduring impacts of war.


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