New drugs like HHC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or kratom should be added to the list of banned substances, according to the head of the Czech National Anti-Drug Centre, Jakub Frydrych. The government will decide in the coming weeks whether to classify these substances as illegal due to their potential to cause health complications or addiction. They could be included on the Ministry of Health’s list of prohibited substances as early as July.
HHC, a cannabis derivative, is virtually indistinguishable from regular marijuana. It has similar effects to THC, the active compound in cannabis, but its sale is entirely legal in the Czech Republic. A gram of the substance can be purchased online for approximately 200 Czech korunas. HHC is also sold in other forms, such as hashish, gummy candies, or electronic cigarettes.
Like kratom, HHC is not approved as a foodstuff but as a collector’s item. Therefore, sellers are absolved of any responsibility for potential health problems and the harmfulness of these substances. However, they are also sold in vending machines; some are even found near schools where children can access them. This availability is problematic and is why the substance should be prohibited, according to Frydrych.
“It’s impossible to have psychoactive substances that can be concentrated and can be part of other products, as we see with HHC, which causes health problems at higher concentrations. The problem is availability because there are no restrictions,” Frydrych told Právo.
Most experts agree that the substance may be banned as early as July. Frydrych also stated that he is opposed to the other approach, which is to regulate the substance and restrict access by age, as advocated by the national anti-drug coordinator, Jindřich Vobořil (ODS).
“It shouldn’t be freely available like it is now. It’s a psychotropic substance; if we don’t sell alcohol or tobacco to people under 18, it shouldn’t be either. There should be some regulation,” Vobořil said.
“We are negotiating with the Ministry of Health to prepare a third version of the law that would create a new list of psycho-modulatory substances, where these substances would not be foodstuffs, but neither would they be prohibited substances,” Vobořil added.