Over the past week Prague was the focus for discussions between experts and businessmen from Europe, the United States, Canada, and Australia, about their experiences with the medicinal cannabis market. It’s a global market that’s growing fast and reckoned to be soon worth hundreds of billions of dollars. But the story in the Czech Republic and in many other places is of growing pains and the early expectations not being realised.
Medicinal cannabis from a Czech supplier could be available in pharmacies in the first half of 2018, the State Institute for Drug Control told the Czech News Agency on Sunday. A gram of cannabis will be sold for about 165 crowns. At the moment, patients can only buy cannabis imported from the Netherlands, which costs around 300 crowns per gram. The drug will be provided by Czech company Elkoplast Slušovice, which has won a public tender for a license to grow and provide medicinal marihuana to pharmacies.
Czech police are preparing to use the DNA of plants and animals in detecting animal smugglers, poachers and marijuana growers, the news site novinky.cz reported on Monday. The project was launched in cooperation with forensic institutes abroad and should be applied in practice within the next five years.
The Czech Republic has the highest percentage of young cannabis users in Europe, according to the latest annual report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Dependency. Its survey found that over a fifth of Czechs aged 15 to 34 had used marijuana or hashish at least once in the previous year. Forty-two percent of Czechs aged 15 and 16 had some experience of those drugs, the survey found.
More than 5,000 people took part in a march through the centre of Prague in favour of the legalisation of marihuana in the Czech Republic on Saturday. The march culminated with a happening at Letná park. The ‘Million Marihuana March’ took place in the Czech capital already for the nineteenth time. Dozens of police were out in force to accompany the event and maintain order. Marihuana is legal for the treatment of certain medical conditions but possession of more than a small amount is still an offence.
Police in southern Moravia have uncovered one of the biggest illegal marihuana plantations on Czech territory in recent years. Officers confiscated over 2,000 marihuana plants and over 18 kilograms of dried marihuana intended for the Austrian market. The plantation was allegedly run by a group of foreign nationals from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Three people are in detention.
More than fifty police officers took part in an extensive raid this week which included as search of homes and vehicles in the area of Cheb, and charges against eight people for the illegal production and sale of marijuana, the police have revealed. Confiscated in the crackdown were around four kilograms of dried marijuana, almost 100 plants, and several tens of thousands of crowns from sales. Charges against three of the persons were brought the same day: if found guilty, two face a potential 10 years behind bars, the third, five.
Czech police take part in Europol crackdown on marihuana gang Six people were detained in the Czech Republic in a Europol organized police clampdown on a marihuana drugs ring organized out of Spain. Around 120 police took part in the action in the Czech Republic which included searches of six homes Around two dozen Serbians were detained in the same action in Spain. The Czech Republic was mostly used for growing marihuana with the final destination for drugs being Spain.
Czech medicinal cannabis producer Elkoplast Slušovice says it will deliver its first consignment of locally grown and produced product in the second half of February. Three similar consignments of 10 kilogrammes should follow by the end of this year. The Czech company signed a contract to supply cannabis to the state drugs authority last year. Use of medicinal cannabis is legal in the country since April 2013. Some local critics say medicinal cannabis is still difficult to find in pharmacies and the price is too high.
The Czech Republic took a bold step back in 2013 when lawmakers agreed to legalise the sale of medicinal cannabis or marihuana. But the development of this market, which can conceivably challenge that of the established pharmaceutical companies across a wide range of pain killers and treatments, is showing some local and global growing pains.