President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a draft law on Feb. 13 to legalize the use of medical cannabis in Ukraine, which is set to take effect in six months. The signed document appeared on Verkhowna Rada's official website on Thursday, Feb. 15. 

The draft law (No. 7457), which underwent a series of debates in the Verkhovna Rada, was first initiated in June 2022 and regulates the use of cannabis in Ukraine, namely to move the substance from List 1 (drugs not permitted for circulation) to List 2 (permitted under strict control). 

Under the draft law, recreational cannabis remains strictly prohibited, and medical cannabis is exclusively available through electronic prescription under the strict control of the National Police.

Politicians from the Batkivshchyna party, including former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, attempted to block the draft law but to no avail.

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An earlier Kyiv Post report covered the new legislation in detail.

Cannabis-based drugs have various medical applications, such as reducing pain, muscle spasms, and cramps, treating anorexia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety disorders. Additionally, they are used to alleviate pain and suffering in seriously ill and palliative patients, including those with cancer and HIV.

Ukraine’s Health Ministry and the World Health Organization estimate that up to seven million people in Ukraine may require cannabis-based medications, including military servicepersons with PTSD symptoms, civilians experiencing pain, and patients with cancer and epilepsy.

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