8 December 2012, 01:38

Czech Republic legalizes sale of marijuana

Czech Republic legalizes sale of marijuana

The Czech Parliament has decided to allow pharmacies to sell medical marijuana as prescribed by doctors. Both marijuana itself and drugs derived from it will be on sale. The law will come into force next year.

In 2013 only imported marijuana will be sold. However, later, the European State Institute for Drug Control will issue licenses to grow cannabis to local producers.

Czech drug laws previously allowed cultivation and use of cannabis, but up until now its sale was prohibited. According to one of the bill's authors, Pavel Bem, "the law aims to make marijuana available to patients who have a need for it, and use it despite it being illegal.”

Marijuana is the most commonly used drug in the world. In medical practice it is used to reduce pain in patients with cancer.

Voice of Russia, RBC

Legalizing ‘recreational drugs’: pros and contras

Sergey Duz

In 1998, the US state of Washington allowed medical use of marijuana. Now, in accordance with the results of a state referendum held simultaneously with the presidential elections on November 6, it has become the first American state to decriminalize possession of marijuana for ‘recreational use’.

Anyone who is interested can now legally possess up to 28 grams of marijuana, for smoking it at home. Growing and selling the drug remains illegal.

Washington’s measure follows years of controversy over recreational drug use. Backed by a host of celebrities including Sting, Carlos Santana and Arnold Schwarzenegger, former UN head Kofi Annan, who now heads the Global Commission on Drug Policy, continues to argue that the law of supply and demand makes the war on drugs unwinnable, and decriminalizing and properly controlling at least the less harmful aspects of drug production and use would constitute something of a solution to the drug problem. This view is shared by many in the medical profession. Five years ago, British physicians unveiled a league table of the most harmful drugs, in which heroin came first, cocaine, second, alcohol, fifth, tobacco, ninth, and marijuana, a rather innocent eleventh. So why not to legalize marijuana, as long as alcohol, a universally recognized social evil, is sold freely in most parts of the world?

Russia’s deputy counter-drug chief Nikolai Tsvetkov disagrees, describing the Washington vote as verging on insanity.

Drug industry expert Dr Igor Khokhlov, of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, warns that decriminalizing marijuana use may prove the thin end of an awesome wedge:

"The proponents of free marijuana or hashish use are mostly oldsters of the hippy generation. They are oblivious of the fact that the world has changed since the time of their antics at the 1969 Woodstock festival. The modern drug industry massively turns out cocaine and heroin, both a far cry from marijuana and hashish in terms of addictiveness and health risks. In the current circumstances, allowing marijuana use would open the gate of hell."

Indeed, everyone knows about the evils associated with banning drugs. Unfortunately, very few people realize that unfettering the drug industry would make matters much worse.

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