The Ministry of Health plans to ban the over-the-counter sale of candies containing the cannabinoid HHC. According to Ondřej Jakob, the ministry’s spokesperson, the ministry plans to devise a solution in the coming days. They are considering either banning the candies as a precautionary measure or adding HHC to the list of addictive substances. Several children have been hospitalized recently due to the consumption of HHC candies.
“The situation is serious, and we want to solve it quickly. I believe we will find a solution within days,” Jakob said. He added that the Ministry of Health proposed adding HHC to the list of banned substances in July last year, but the government disagreed.
Instead, an amendment to the Act on Addictive Substances was created. This Act does not want to ban these so-called psychomodulating substances directly, but it will allow their regulation, such as prohibiting their sale to children. The amendment is currently in its second reading in the House.
HHC candies are not sold as food but are offered as so-called collectibles in tobacconists or street vending machines. If the government decides to add them to the list of addictive substances, their sale would be illegal. Another option being considered is a so-called precautionary measure.
National anti-drug coordinator Jindřich Vobořil stated that the State Health Institute should initiate steps towards the State Agricultural and Food Inspection, which oversees food. A general decree should then be created.
There have been reports of people being poisoned by this substance, especially in the Karlovy Vary region. The regional hospital warned at the end of January that these poisonings are increasing. The local rescue service responded to seven cases of HHC intoxication over the weekend.
Vobořil considers offering these products in an attractive form for children and food to be highly unethical. “I call on manufacturers and sellers of products containing HHC to reconsider their procedures and withdraw such products from circulation,” Vobořil said two weeks ago.