Michailida is asking for the legalization of cannabis. I don’t want to have Amsterdam from Prague, says Frydrych

Michailida is asking for the legalization of cannabis. I don’t want to have Amsterdam from Prague, says Frydrych
Michailida is asking for the legalization of cannabis. I don’t want to have Amsterdam from Prague, says Frydrych

“Nobody wants Prague to become a new Amsterdam,” says Jakub Frydrych, director of the National Drug Control Center. But according to Jana Michailida, there is no danger of such a thing. On the contrary, according to her, the legalization of cannabis could bring billions of crowns to the state budget.

Czechs are gardeners

“We think that substances that show low social harm, due to their availability on the commercial market, could, with relevant taxation, bring the required money to the state budget, including for the long-term underfunded network of addiction and preventive services. That’s where the money is desperately lacking,” says Michailidu.

“Czechs are gardeners,” counters Frydrych. “We have the center of gravity of covering internal demand significantly based on small growers. Even with the reflection of criminal law data. 65% of the revealed nurseries grow less than 50 plants. It almost has a community feel to it. Self-cultivators will not be easy to tax.”

According to Michailid, there are foreign models that can be inspired. “We are largely inspired by Germany. What we will be designing in the near future looks very similar.”

“So we would like to see the legalization of self-cultivation of cannabis and the availability of social clubs. By the end of March, we want to talk about it at the government level, because there is already a paragraph wording. And we’ll see how the government will react to it,” says Michailidu.

“On the other hand, in the United States, for example, we see some risks when the number of traffic accidents under the influence of cannabis has increased there. Then we have states where the regulation did not bring the desired effects in terms of limiting the illegal market, such as Uruguay,” Michailitu admits.

“But then, on the other hand, we have states where we like the regulation much more. This is Canada, for example, where public health and the protection of children and youth are a high priority. Information campaigns were also involved in the regulation there, and we can observe an increase in the youth’s awareness of the risks of cannabis there,” adds Michailidu.

We don’t agree with cannabis clubs

“Our legal opinion is very constant, long-term,” continues Jakub Frydrych. “There is no problem with the concept of self-cultivation and holding for one’s own use, there is certainly room for change and it will be consistent with our international obligations. But we believe that cannabis clubs and wholesale and retail trade are beyond the limits of our international obligations and all legislative parameters.”

Jan Michailida also sees this as the main contradiction within the legislative process. According to her, the demands of the KDU-ČSL politicians, who do not want to disappoint their voters, must therefore be perceived within the government coalition. “But even there it’s a question of solidarity, because not everyone can grow cannabis on their own. We have a lot of people here who self-medicate with cannabis, they are often people who are of retirement age.”

For these people who live in an apartment and cannot grow cannabis themselves, according to her, clubs could be one of the options for obtaining cannabis. “Otherwise we will block the way for these people, and we don’t want that. We want these people to be able to transfer this opportunity to someone who will grow cannabis for them.”

I’m not for self-medication

“First of all, I do not feel professionally competent in the extent to which self-medication with anything should be allowed. We already had this debate in 2012, and then we were told clearly, especially by the voices of professional medical societies, that something like self-medication with cannabis and its products has its risks. And those doctors talked about the fact that the risks are higher than the benefits,” says Frydrych.

Therefore, he would be cautious in the process of legalization. He pointed out that even in countries where legalization was approved, there was not always overwhelming public support. “When I look at the legalization in Germany and the acceptance by the public, it was as tight as the Brexit ratio. In addition, twelve federal states opposed legalization. I don’t think sixteen is too little,” thinks Frydrych.

What about the Vietnamese? Aren’t they behind illegal cannabis farms in the Czech Republic? “This is definitely not the case today. This was the case between 2012 and 2015. This was the emergence of criminal groups of people originally from Vietnam, when capital first came from countries with large Vietnamese diasporas, such as Norway, Great Britain, Canada, and then technology for growing plants under by artificial lighting.”

“However, they subsequently shifted their focus to the illegal production of methamphetamine. They no longer produce cannabis,” concludes Frydrych.

So what will the legalization of cannabis in the Czech Republic help? Why did the government ban the sale of HHC a few days ago? And will the early legalization of cannabis in Germany somehow affect the Czech market? This was also discussed in the Shootout duel.

The article is in Czech

Tags: Michailida legalization cannabis dont Amsterdam Prague Frydrych


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