Czech Republic Anti-Drug Coordinator Still Pushing for Kratom, Cannabis to Be Regulated

Anti-Drug Coordinator of Czech Republic, Jindřich Vobořil, told the popular Czech news website in an interview that he is still pushing for sensible regulation of kratom and cannabis.

On Tuesday, June 20, Vobořil met with leaders of the government’s five-party coalition about his proposed regulation. Despite worry from one of the parties, Vobořil said that “after I presented a summary of the forty-page intention of the law, all the other parties said that they would like to support the process.” His proposal calls for increased access to medical cannabis, including allowing home grow, as well as severe restrictions to the sale of cannabis, CBD, kratom and similar substances to minors.

Vobořil has also recently met with the Ministry of Health, State Agricultural and Food Inspection, the Czech Trade Inspection, customs officials, and the Government Office with his proposal.

The law is being prepared in such a way that it will be read through the parliamentary initiative in the summer, the opinion will be sent to the government and possibly back in September so that it can be resolved in the House of Representatives.

However, there is a detracting agency at work. Mirroring the US FDA and the BNN in Indonesia, Czech Republic’s State Institute for Drug Control wants to see kratom banned.

Vobořil responded to this position:

The State Institute for Drug Control has proposed that kratom be included in the ban. But the World Health Organization does not recommend banning kratom. I am surprised that the Institute for Drug Control [has this position]. I feel this is the result of pressure from some kind of pharma lobby, but that is pure speculation. The matter is already in the government, but I would like it to get back to me for comments.

Despite his title as “Anti-Drug Coordinator”, Vobořil favors a harm-reductionist approach

When we ban everything, it reverses and users reach for riskier substances. Having a less risky substance on the market, but strictly regulated, is just the solution. This is also the case with cigarettes and their substitutes. The data tells us that there is a need to promote and market products that are less risky.

Czech Republic, according to our sister site

…is the only post-communist country to have strongly reduced punishments for some drug-related activities. The production and sale of drugs have always been punishable under Czech criminal law. The possession of drugs was decriminalized after the collapse of the Communist regime, but penalties were reinstated in 1999 for possession in amounts classified as “larger than small.” The new Criminal Code enacted in 2009 differentiates between cannabis and other drugs and imposes less strict penalties for the use and cultivation of cannabis. The use of cannabis for medical purposes was legalized in 2013.

The fundamental pillars of the Czech Republic’s Drug Policy are: primary prevention, treatment, social integration, harm reduction, risk minimization, and drug supply reduction.

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