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The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, has approved the draft law on legalizing medical cannabis in the first reading, lawmaker Iryna Herashchenko said on July 13.
The bill was supported by 268 out of 405 deputies. To become law, it has to be adopted in the second reading (possibly after undergoing some changes) and then signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The draft law proposes to license the economic activity of cultivating hemp for medical, industrial, and scientific purposes. It aims to help Ukrainian war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, people with cancer, and other serious diseases to get pain relief and reduce other symptoms.
According to the bill, hemp circulation would be under strict control of the state, and only people with a doctor's prescription could buy cannabis-based drugs.
Zelensky spoke in support of the draft law on medical cannabis in his address to the parliament on Constitution Day on June 28.
"We must finally honestly legalize cannabis-based medicines, relevant scientific research, and controlled Ukrainian production for everyone who needs it," Zelensky said, as cited by Hromadske media outlet.
Zelensky added that Ukraine should create the strongest mental and physical rehabilitation system in Europe.
"This concerns both the construction of rehabilitation centers and the training of relevant personnel... All the best world practices, the most effective policies, solutions, no matter how difficult or unusual, should be applied in Ukraine."