Ukraine to Legalize Medical Cannabis, Health Minister Says

The Health Minister of Ukraine says the government intends to approve medical cannabis as the bill moves into Parliament.

Ukraine’s Health Minister Viktor Liashko announced on June 7 in a Facebook post that the government advanced a medical cannabis bill for approval, even as the country is in the thick of war. A draft bill was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers and heads to the Ukraine Parliament for approval.

“We understand the negative consequences of the war on the mental health camp,” Liashko wrote. “We understand the number of people who will require medical treatment in the last breath.”

Kyiv Post reports that a 2021 draft bill was reworked and the government intends to move forward and legalize medical cannabis. “And we understand that there is no time for a check,” he added.

“Cannabis drugs are not ‘competitors’ to drugs, and measures to regulate their circulation are completely different. Medical cannabis contains cannabidiol, which has no pronounced psychoactive effect, so it’s not suitable for recreational use,“ said Liashko.

A bill would strictly control the cultivation, production, and sale of medical cannabis products, as well as authorizations and licenses for the cultivation and scientific research. It would also provide a medical cannabis tracking system in order to provide information for all the stages of products’ circulation.

“To that, at the same time, we were prepared by the legislator for the preparation of a new cycle of production of preparations based on cannabis in Ukraine: from the development of that processing to full production,” Liashko added.

Meanwhile, cannabis companies right here in the U.S. are activating to help Ukraine amid war. Helmand Valley Growers Company (HVGC) was founded by United States Special Operations Veterans (Marine Raiders), and adopts a huge focus on veterans (and civilians) battling PTSD. They provide flower, cartridges, and 100% live resin.

Last April, HVGC launched a Chillum program with proceeds going to World Central Kitchen to help Ukraine, as well as Battle Brothers, a 501c3 charitable organization that empowers veterans, to study how cannabis can help military veterans living with PTSD. That project is wrapping up with a new Ukraine-focused effort to do what they can.

“During this summer, we’re planning to develop Chillums and help benefit an organization called The Mozart Group,” HVGC President and CEO Bryan Buckley tells High Times. “They are in Kyiv right now. It’s my former regimental commander while I was a former Marine Raider. His name is Andrew Millburn. It’s about 100 former special operators from America, UK, and Australia, and they’re training Ukrainians on medical and military tactics.

“This thing is going to rage for a long time,” Buckley adds. “Talking to Colonel Milburn, who is retired, he said that the Russians are ‘worse than ISIS’.”

With PTSD affecting Ukrainians of all types, the time is now to enact medical cannabis legislation.

On June 7, Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers approved a draft bill “on regulating 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.”

The bill would expand medical services to include medical cannabis and promote research on the plant. It would expand patient access to cannabis with over 50 qualifying conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), HIV, cancer, neurological diseases, and neuropathic pain. Epilepsy, glaucoma, psoriasis, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis are also on the list.

Medical cannabis will be available via prescriptions or electronic prescriptions, but the Health Minister acknowledged how cannabis can’t be regulated the exact same way as pills. He also dismissed some of the myths about CBD.

Liashko seemed to compare people who dismiss medical cannabis as the same as people who dismiss the benefits of yoga that are now widely accepted as proven by science. He kind of has a point.

“Communication campaigns against drug abuse in cannabis have been shown to reject the faces on the basis of yoga and cannabis, which are in illegal practice, with the method of ignoring the value of yoga as a medical science and discrediting the very idea of ​​yoga medicine.”

Under the bill, a central executive body would determine the percentage of THC in cannabis through laboratory tests conducted by enterprises, institutions, and other organizations.

Ukraine Congress member Kira Rudik tweeted that the medical cannabis movement in the country was originally spearheaded by the Holos Party in 2019.

The bill now needs to be approved in the Ukrainian Parliament by at least 226 votes. A medical cannabis draft bill—bill No. 5596—failed to be approved by the Ukrainian Parliament on July 13, 2021, and was sent back for revisions.

Activists of the Patients of Ukraine organization and other organizations rallied outside the Ukrainian Parliament demanding the approval of bill No. 5596 regulating use of medical cannabis in Ukraine in Kyiv on July 13, 2021. The bill was considered in Parliament on that day, but it failed to get the necessary approval from MPs.

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