The President of Ukraine calls for the legalization of medical cannabis to help Ukrainians overcome their traumas triggered by the war against Russia.
In a speech to the Ukrainian Parliament on Wednesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that “all the best practices in the world, 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”.
“In particular, we must finally legalize cannabis medicines fairly for everyone who needs them, with proper scientific research and controlled Ukrainian production,” he said, as reported Ukrainska Pravda.
The president stressed that access to medical cannabis could be a therapeutic option for citizens who endured more than a year of intense conflict after Russia invaded the country in February 2022.
During his presidential campaign, Mr. Zelensky also voiced his support for the legalization of medical cannabis, saying in 2019 that he would find it “normal” to allow people access to “droplets” of cannabis, which could be a reference to cannabis tinctures.
Zelensky’s cabinet has taken steps to legalize medical cannabis, approving a reform bill last year that has yet to be passed by parliament.
Health Minister Viktor Liashko said the bill would allow “the circulation of cannabis plants for medical, industrial, scientific and technical-scientific purposes, in order to create the conditions for expanding access for patients to the necessary treatment of cancer and post-traumatic disorders resulting from the war”.
“We understand the negative consequences of war on mental health,” he said. “We understand the number of people who will need medical treatment due to this impact. And we understand that there is no time to waste”.
The policy shift would put Ukraine in stark contrast to its aggressor, which has taken a particularly strong stance against cannabis policy reform internationally, through the United Nations. The country notably condemned Canada for having legalized cannabis and used its restrictive legislation to strain diplomatic relations with the United States by imprisoning Marc Fogel, an American citizen who faces a 14-year sentence in a Russian prison for possession of cannabis. medical cannabis, or WNBA player Brittney Griner who was detained before being released as part of a prisoner exchange brokered by the Biden administration.
Last year, Russia’s foreign ministry deputy said legalization efforts in the US and Canada were matters of “very concern to us”, according to a social media post by the official account. of the ministry. “It is worrying that several European Union member states are considering violating their drug control obligations. »