- Population: 10.6 million
- Number of Cannabis Users: 0.8 million
- Ruling Government Party: Coalition between the Social Democrats and the ANO
Landscape and Policy
When the Czech Republic was founded in 1993, a progressive set of drug laws were implemented by the government which made the production and sale of drugs illegal, but the possession and consumption of drugs legal. However, this legislation proved to be too difficult to police, so the law ultimately changed in 1999 to make the possession of drugs in any amount larger than ‘small’ illegal (the cultivation of <5 plants or the possession of <15 grams of cannabis is treated only as a misdemeanour).
Recreational cannabis use was decriminalised in the country in 2010, with the consumption of cannabis for medical purposes being legally regulated back in April 2013. The pharmaceutical products Dronabinol and Sativex are both available by medical prescription. However, the medical cannabis market in the country has been hampered by a lack of competitive suppliers and supply shortages.
Currently, hemp is regulated as an industrial commodity so the limits on its cultivation and processing are more relaxed than in its neighbouring countries. Both CBD and hemp oil are legal, meaning they can be purchased openly. Due to these more relaxed limits, the country has become a world leader in cannabis-infused products (like dietary supplements and cosmetics). Many Czech products, including those from the Biovita group and CBDex, are on sale in multiple European countries like Germany, Spain and the UK. With the increasing popularity of hemp products, a bright future likely lays ahead for the cannabis industry in the country.
From the new year in 2020, the Ministry of Health for the country will start subsidising payment of medical cannabis from public health insurance, with patients being set to pay just hundreds for their medical cannabis as opposed to the thousands they are currently paying.
The country’s minister of health Adam Vojtěch stated that, due to the current cost of medical cannabis meaning that its use is a significant burden for some patients – making illegal domestic cultivation more likely: “we want to contribute up to 90% of the sale price of cannabis in the pharmacy from public health insurance. The amount of the supplement will be comparable to the supplement for the treatment of chronic diseases.”
Overall, the newly passed bill will allow for a limit of 30g of cannabis a month to be covered by public health insurance which was deemed to be a sufficient amount as the average patient in the country consumes around 10g per month. However, Vojtěch stated that in exceptional cases (after approval is gained from by the medical examiner) reimbursement above this limit will be possible.
The future of the cannabis industry in the Czech Republic seems promising with this recent development in the subsidising of medical cannabis in the country. However, at present, despite the country being a hub for cannabis business activity and research, very few cannabis-based pharmaceutical products are actually available (only Dronabinol and Sativex are available currently). Nonetheless, with the new changes making medical cannabis easier to access in the country and CBD and hemp products already being available for open purchase, it will be interesting to see how legislation changes in the near future in this progressive country.
Further investigation and research into medicinal cannabis and alternative medical options is thoroughly encouraged by The Academy, particularly through the use of our own online courses, evidence base and whitepapers.
The rest of our resources are available on our website. We urge anyone considering use of medical cannabis products to consult with a trained medical professional prior to beginning use.