Council of Churches asserts that the cannabis legalization bill prioritizes drug business over medicine
This is stated in the Statement of the UCCRO.
Leaders of the Council of Churches and religious organizations believe that this bill is not aimed at creating additional treatment opportunities for seriously ill patients but rather at legalizing the cultivation, processing, and distribution of cannabis-containing narcotic substances in Ukraine. Therefore, this bill is primarily about the drug business and not about medicine and caring for those affected by the war.
Representatives of the Council emphasize that consuming "medical cannabis" for treatment does not differ significantly from consuming "medical alcohol".
The key issues raised in the Appeal:
The Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations expresses significant concerns regarding the proposed legalization of medical cannabis in Ukraine. They argue that the bill, which permits the controlled circulation of cannabis for medical, industrial, scientific, and technical purposes, presents risks that outweigh the expected benefits. The Council calls for the withdrawal of the bill and urges the President of Ukraine to prevent the detrimental consequences of step-by-step cannabis legalization.
They emphasize that while access to quality medical services and support for the recovery of patients with severe illnesses are important, the use of drugs with narcotic effects, such as cannabis-based medications, may pose risks to non-terminal patients. They question the real therapeutic benefits and argue that the perception of consuming "medical cannabis" as safe medicine is misleading. They assert that cannabis is a narcotic substance with the same risks as other narcotics.
The Council points out that the legalization of cannabis in Ukraine could create false perceptions of its safety, particularly among youth, leading to increased recreational use. They cite statistics from the UN World Drug Report, indicating that youth are the most vulnerable group in terms of drug use, and highlight the significant harm caused by cannabis worldwide. They stress that the problems associated with drug use pose an increased threat during times of conflict and economic crises.
Additionally, the Council raises concerns about the feasibility of effective state control over the cultivation, processing, and distribution of cannabis, particularly during a war. They argue that the state's current focus on combating aggression leaves insufficient resources for proper monitoring, resulting in a potential increase in the illicit drug trade. They caution against the risks associated with shadow markets and criminal activities.
The Council suggests that the government can address the need for specific cannabis-based medications without resorting to the proposed bill. They propose expanding the list of permitted medical substances by amending existing sub-legislative acts, allowing for medical use under strict regulation.
In summary, the Council strongly opposes the legalization of medical cannabis in Ukraine due to concerns about the risks associated with its use, potential increase in recreational consumption, and challenges in effective state control. They urge the withdrawal of the bill and propose alternative measures to address the medical needs of patients.