A government advisory body in the Czech Republic is working on a new law to legalize growing and consuming medical marijuana.
Officials have been examining what models for dispensing medical marijuana might work best for the Czech Republic. The frequently cited example of Israel, where medical marijuana was allowed 12 years ago, involves the state licensing eight farms to grow the plant with distribution organized to the around 7,500 registered users.
The experts have proposed that marijuana would be imported or grown locally by registered firms licensed for such activity, which is currently illegal. Cultivation of commercial medical marijuana could only be carried out by licensed companies under strict conditions. Home growing of medical marijuana for commercial sale would not be allowed.
The group also proposed Monday that all patients using marijuana would be registered.
According to the timetable set itself by the working group, it should compile a list of legislative changes necessary to allow the introduction of medical marijuana by mid-December. That should allow a proposed bill to be drawn up by the end of the year and the Czech parliament to vote on the changes in the early part of 2012.
Marijuana is the most popular drug in the Czech Republic with the state decriminalizing possession of small amounts of the drug for personal use and cultivation of a limited number of plants at the start of 2010.
What was interpreted, somewhat misleadingly, as a Czech move to go soft on drugs has caused problems for the country with neighbors, such as Germany, which continue to take a tough line on marijuana possession and cultivation. Stepped up border checks by German police on Czechs has been blamed in part on the perception that Prague has relaxed its stand on soft drugs.