Czech Police Want to Use Seized Marijuana for Treatment

Czech policemen have proposed that the seized marijuana be used for medical purposes, for instance for the treatment of patients with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, the daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes Friday.

The Justice Ministry does not oppose the idea, LN adds.

"It is certainly logical," Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil (senior government Civic Democrats, ODS)) told the daily.

He, however, admitted that in this case the police must ensure that the drug distribution would be in compliance with law.

The Czech police annually seize and then destroy some 400 kilos of marijuana, the daily writes.

So far hemp-based medicines have not been allowed to be officially applied in the Czech Republic. Only some studies of their effects on human health are underway in the country, LN says.

Experts, addressed by the paper, take a reserved stance on the police's initiative.

Michal Miovsky, head of the addictology centre at the psychiatric clinic of Charles University's First Faculty of Medicine, welcomed the idea as a positive step.

He, however, pointed out that hemp from illegal laboratories is often cultivated under uncontrolled conditions, and consequently its use in medicine would be problematic.

The Health Ministry admits that hemp may have therapeutic effects but it at the same time warns that undesirable effects accompanying its administration had not been fully described, LN writes.

The junior government Czech Public Affairs (VV) party supports the idea of marijuana being legalised for for medical purposes, the daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) reported on Wednesday.

The VV was first considering importing the soft drug from the Netherlands, for instance.

However, the party would agree with the use of police-seized marijuana, which would be much cheaper, if the respective legislation to enable it were passed, VV deputy group head Kristyna Koci told LN.

On the contrary, Jakub Frydrych, chief of the Czech Anti-drug Centre, considers the idea unrealistic, the daily writes.

"I cannot imagine it. It is similar as if we in the past debated whether opiates could be made of heroin," Frydrych said.

No European country uses seized drugs for health care, he added.

The idea emerged among policemen in Kladno, central Bohemia, who recently seized 1790 hemp plants in a local Vietnamese cultivation unit. The marijuana made of the hemp could be sold for up to two million crowns, LN says.

The drug is now stored at the police station and will probably be burnt down in the end since the current legislation and the state of medical research in this field prevent its legal use for treatment, LN writes.

Nevertheless, more and more Czech state institutions and politicians support the use of hemp for medical purposes.

If it were permitted, the state would have to decide whether pharmaceutical companies or a state facility should cultivate hemp or whether it should be imported, LN adds.

- Article from Prague Daily Monitor.


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