Czech Parliament Backs Medical Marijuana, With a Catch

The Czech Senate Wednesday approved a bill allowing for the legal sale of cannabis for medical purposes, affirming a decision of the country’s lower house of parliament.

The proposal, which enjoys very strong support from all political parties in both houses of parliament, should become law later this year, pending an expected presidential signature.

A picture taken in Prague on May 5, 2012, shows Czech youth shouting slogans as they take part in a march calling for the legalization of marijuana.

But there’s a catch: the text of the bill says that only imported cannabis will be allowed for sale in the first year “to ensure standards.” After that, sales may expand to include registered, domestic production that is strictly monitored.

This is a one-two punch that advocates of medical marijuana say will simply make cannabis prohibitively expensive, putting the herb out of reach of most patients while enriching the black market and a few select firms that will be official traders in the goods.

“It’s legal, pharmaceutical and economic corruption,” said Dusan Dvorak, a medical-cannabis activist who leads the nonprofit organization Konopi je Lek, or Marijuana is Medicine.

“The result of the law should be access to cannabis for research and medical uses. But the real result is that it won’t be made available, it’ll be more expensive, it’ll bolster the black market and the mafia.”

– Read the entire article at The Wall Street Journal.