The Czech government has approved an amendment allowing the issuing of licenses for the cultivation and export of cannabis for medical use, according to a statement by Health Minister Adam Vojtěch during a press conference.
After adoption by parliament and signature by the President, the law could come into force in July 2021.
Vojtěch said competition created with new producers should reduce the costs of the public health insurance system for patients.
Currently, only one cannabis producer, Elkoplast Slušovice, supplies most of the medical cannabis prescribed in the Czech Republic. Canadian producers, including Aurora, Canopy Growth, and Tilray, have also exported small quantities.
According to the State Medical Cannabis Agency, from January to April 2020, nearly 16 kg of medical cannabis was sold on the Czech market, approximately the same amount as in 2019.
In January, Czech public health insurance was extended to cover medical cannabis under certain conditions. The first patient in the Czech Republic to be fully reimbursed was a 52-year-old woman who has been suffering from a progressive form of multiple sclerosis since she was 20 years old and has found little relief from traditional medicines.
Medical cannabis has been legal since 2013 in the Czech Republic. Since then, the country has slowly developed access to medical cannabis in pharmacies under the prescription of a certified doctor, with patients facing strong administrative and economic barriers and shortages.