In a historic move, the Ukrainian Parliament has passed a landmark bill legalizing medical cannabis, marking a significant milestone in health care reform. This initiative, aimed at providing much-needed relief to cancer and PTSD patients, now awaits the endorsement of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The bill's passage through the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's unicameral parliament, saw an overwhelming majority with 248 out of 450 votes in favor. This legislation primarily targets easing the suffering of cancer patients and individuals grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the ongoing military conflict with Russia, which commenced in February 2022.
The new law mandates a prescription for medical cannabis usage, while adult-use cannabis continues to be illegal. To expedite access for patients, the law will permit the importation of raw cannabis materials.
President Zelensky, who has previously expressed support for cannabis-based medicinal products both during his presidential campaign in 2019 and in June of this year, is anticipated to sign the bill into law. The legislation will become effective six months following the president's signature.
Ukrainian MP Maria Mezentseva highlighted, “The draft law on medical cannabis is strictly for medical purposes, ensuring access to medication for those in genuine need. It includes prescription-only drugs, quality medicinal products, and local production in Ukraine to eliminate potential corruption risks.” (Source: Marijuana Moment)
Although the bill currently specifies only cancer and PTSD, there have been discussions about broadening its scope to include other serious conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy, as per the health committee's chair statement in July.