The Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday supported proposed rules for handling kratom-like substances or low-THC cannabis. The parliamentary amendment aims to protect children from these substances, as currently, no regulation exists.
The healthcare committee will now assess the proposal despite receiving positive feedback on dozens of comments. It is expected to undergo broader modifications, giving the committee 90 days instead of 60.
The amendment, proposed by a group of deputies from five coalition parties and the opposition ANO, for example, prohibits the sale of products with psychoactive effects to children through vending machines and advertising them. These products could only be available in specialized stores. In the case of online sales, the seller would have to verify the buyer’s age, similar to alcohol and tobacco products. Selling to children would be subject to criminal penalties. Cross-border sales of products with psychoactive effects would not be possible via the Internet, and export would require permission.
Minister of Health Vlastimil Válek (TOP 09) stated that his office agrees with the direction of the proposal but highlights various challenges. According to him, the ministry leans towards a complete ban on online sales and exports to foreign countries. “The proposal needs to be adjusted to fulfill its purpose,” emphasized the minister.
“Legislatively, the law is poorly drafted, but we will not block it because we all certainly want substances like kratom to be inaccessible to youth and children,” said Karla Maříková, a member of the SPD. Tom Philipp from the KDU-ČSL acknowledged that the proposal contains several “quite serious” errors, and in collaboration with the ministry, they are preparing a comprehensive amendment. ANO Deputy Marek Novák described the draft law as a mess. However, his request to return it to the Chamber for further revision was unsuccessful.
The current session of the Chamber of Deputies concluded with discussing the amendment on addictive substances. On Wednesday, the deputies will meet for an extraordinary session where they will revisit the final approval of the controversial consolidation package.