Ukrainian Parliament unblocks medical cannabis bill

The Ukrainian Parliament has unblocked the signing of the medical cannabis bill, the opposition Holos (Voice) party MP Yaroslav Zheleznyak reported on Telegram on Jan. 16.

On Dec. 21, the Ukrainian parliament supported the bill on medical cannabis at second reading. The Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) faction ultimately failed to stop the signing of the bill, which was approved by the 248 deputies of the Verkhovna Rada.

The bill will regulate the circulation of cannabis exclusively for medical, industrial, and scientific activities. Recreational use and distribution will remain a criminal offense.

The law was not fully supported by the opposition parties Batkivshchyna and European Solidarity. Batkivshchyna leader Yulia Tymoshenko, who has consistently opposed the initiative, said that the faction intends to appeal to the Constitutional Court to cancel the results of the vote because “the amendments to the bill were considered in a half-empty chamber.”

Tymoshenko believes that the bill “legalizes drug trafficking and the drug mafia in the country,” without providing evidence to support her accusations.

Medications derived from medical cannabis are used to reduce pain, muscle spasms, treat PTSD and anxiety disorders. They are also beneficial in treating epilepsy, psoriasis, kidney failure, alleviate pain in cancer patients, help those diagnosed with HIV.