Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) has passed legislation to legalize medical marijuana through its first reading.
The measure received a 268 to 137 vote in the parliament. It will need to be passed through one more reading before it can be sent to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for consideration. President Zelenskyy is in support of the law and says he’ll quicky sign it into law if it reaches his desk.
The measure has been stalled in the parliament for around two years, but gained momentum earlier this year as Zelenksyy increased calls for medical marijuana legalization.
“In particular, we must finally honestly legalize cannabis-based medicine for everyone who needs it, [with] the relevant scientific research and controlled Ukrainian manufacturing”, Zelenskyy said in a recent address to parliament. “All the world’s best practices, all the most effective policies, all the solutions, no matter how difficult or unusual they may seem to us, must be applied in Ukraine so that Ukrainians, all our citizens, do not have to endure the pain, stress, and trauma of war”.
Minister of Healthcare Viktor Liashko said the bill would 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.”
According to polling released last year, 65% of those in Ukraine support legalizing medical cannabis.