Pirates want to liberalize marijuana laws

A broad spectrum of politicians favor some changes to the current rules

The Czech Pirate Party is hoping to reform national marijuana laws. The party has gotten 40 signatures from parliamentary deputies for a draft law that would liberalize the rules for cannabis cultivation and personal use.

Support came from members of the Social Democrats (ČSSD), Civic Democrats (ODS), ANO, Mayors and Independents (STAN) and TOP 09.

Pirate party leader Ivan Bartoš said further support was being negotiated and the draft would be submitted to the Chamber of Deputies by the end of the week. He said that he does not smoke it himself, but the law would benefit people especially those who need marijuana for medical purposes. Aside from smoking, people use it for products such as soaps or shampoos that can treat skin conditions. He added that he also has a skin problem that can benefit from it.

Under the proposal, someone at home has up to 1,250 grams of dried cannabis and can take 30 grams of cannabis outside, or six grams of purified THC or hemp oil. If passed, the law could také effect by 2020.

Pirate deputy Tomáš Vymazal said that public consultation has taken place with 7,000 people and there

has been a clear interest in the possibility of giving some cannabis to another person free of charge.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) in October told Vymazal that he supported cannabis for medical reasons, and had met with people who claimed it helped them.

TOP 09 deputy Dominik Feri told daily Mladá fronta Dnes (MfD) he supports the law but is not a regular user. He added that its use was so commonplace, that it made no sense to have laws limiting people from growing herbs for their own use. Legalizing marijuana is now a global trend, he added.

STAN deputy Jan Farský also supports the proposal, as he sees no sense in denying it to people who need it. He also claimed he has not smoked it in 20 years, as he did not enjoy it. Three other STAN members also support the proposal.

Most ČSSD members including deputy chairwoman Kateřina Valachová also support cannabis for personal and medical use. She said that her party would allow members to vote as they want, but over half are expected to support it. She told MfD she has never tried it.

Currently, medical marijuana can be prescribed for specific diseases, but there have been problems with maintaining a legal supply and prices have been much higher than necessary. It is not covered by health insurance.

Possession of a small amount, up to 15 grams or five plants, for personal use has been decriminalized, but there is no legal means to purchase it for recreational use. 

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