Czech government wants to regulate kratom and other psychoactive substances

The Czech government has decided in favour of regulating, rather than banning, the sale of kratom, CBD or HHC products. A proposed bill to that effect would create a new legal category of "psychomodulating substances" which would be sold to adults only, under strict conditions.

HHC, CBD and kratom have become increasingly popular of late with sales outlets and vending machines now available virtually in every bigger town and city. The Health Ministry had been ringing alarm bells, demanding a ban on the sale of these products, with the possibility of dispensing psychoactive substances in small quantities on prescription.

However, largely driven by the arguments of the Pirate Party, the government decided to take a more benevolent approach and allow their sale under strict conditions that would enable the state authorities to monitor the quality of these products and register sales outlets.

Tom Philipp | Photo: KDU-ČSL

Tom Philipp, an MP for the Christian Democratic Party is a doctor and is one of the co-authors of the draft proposal. He says the main aim was get these substances out of the reach of children.

"We want to make sure that CBD products and kratom are not accessible to children and adolescents under the age of 18 because they can have an unpredictable effect on them. It is now common to find these vending machines close to schools and in shopping malls where children can buy a substance that affects their psyche, concentration, brain and physical development for a relatively small amount of money.”

According to the proposed draft law, a list of these substances would be created and administrated by the Office of the Government. The authorities would also compile a register of companies that are licensed to manufacture and distribute them. The new rules would also require labeling of packaging with information on effects and recommended dosages. The substances could only be sold to over 18s and any form of advertising would be prohibited.

Photo: Lenka Žižková,  Radio Prague International

Tom Philipp argues that it makes more sense to regulate the sales and quality of these products than to ban them and shift their sale onto the black market, which could be far more dangerous for the end user.

"The Office of the Government will cooperate with other state authorities, to secure sanitation and regularly monitor the quality of these substances by laboratory methods. It will also ensure that the conditions of the law are not violated, in cooperation with the police. “

New substances that appear on the market – which happens all the time - will be inspected and placed on the list with respective restrictions, such as that they can only be used for research with a special permit.

The proposal will now go to Parliament, where it is expected to win approval, and should come into force next year.

Substances such as kratom can have medicinal effects in small amounts, but are depressant in large doses. They are sold as oils, tinctures, tablets or powder. CBD comes from cannabis plants while kratom is the herbal leaf of an evergreen tree with opioid properties.

Authors: Daniela Lazarová , Pavlína Nečásková | Source: Český rozhlas
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