Legalizing cannabis could generate up to 1.8 billion, Pirates says

According to the Pirates, the state could raise CZK 650 million to CZK 1.8 billion a year in taxes after the legalization of cannabis use. The material also proposes various options for regulating the marijuana market, including mandatory registration of users.

The party plans to present the study to its coalition partners next week. A week ago, National Drug Coordinator Jindřich Vobořil (ODS) informed that a law regulating the cannabis market was being prepared.

“By taxing it, we will raise billions of crowns a year and, simultaneously, avoid unnecessary spending on repression. Moreover, suppose we launch the regulated market with the German one. In that case, it will mean huge opportunities for our economy in the area of exports,” Pirate MP Klára Kocmanová said on Wednesday.

The aim, she said, is also to limit the black market and minors’ access to cannabis. Inspiration for the possibility of regulating the market has been drawn from the US, where a license is required for sales; Canada, where advertising is banned while harm reduction campaigns are underway; and Uruguay, which has introduced a registry of legal users.

According to Jana Michailida, head of the Pirate Inter-Ministerial Team on Addictive Behaviour, this is still an initial proposal and will be discussed. She said the registry would regulate the amount per month that can be bought or control that the age of purchasers is above 18. He is not concerned about stigmatizing people signing up for the register. “Setting up a legal market will gradually lead to the destigmatization of cannabis use,” he believes.

Similar to the Czech Republic, MEP Mikuláš Peksa said Germany, Malta, and Luxembourg are preparing for the possible legalization of marijuana.

The study estimates the cost of introducing the register at CZK 100 million, with another CZK 30 million to be allocated to prevent the harmful use of cannabis. It forecasts that repression of users, whether through police work or the imprisonment of those convicted of cannabis-related drug offenses, currently costs around 600 million crowns a year. Moreover, according to Michaelid, it does not lead to a reduction in demand or curbs the black market.

“The harmfulness of cannabis is far behind alcohol and tobacco in international comparative rankings, both in terms of harm to the user and the surrounding environment,” said MP Kocman.

The use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is allowed in the Czech Republic. It can be prescribed by about 200 doctors, primarily for cancer, multiple sclerosis patients, or intractable pain. According to the State Agency for Cannabis, 4,600 patients prescribed cannabis for medicinal use last year. The number is increasing, up by about a quarter year-on-year.

An estimated 125,000 people use marijuana illegally. Legal drugs are many times more prevalent. According to data from the National Survey on Alcohol and Tobacco Use in the Czech Republic in 2021, smokers make up about a quarter of the population, and e-cigarettes and other alternatives are growing in popularity.

Alcohol is drunk every other day or more often by about one in six Czechs over 15, but abstainers are also on the rise, with 17.7 percent last year. According to an earlier statement by Voboril, about 150 000 people in the Czech Republic are addicted to alcohol. Another half a million use alcohol excessively and are at risk of addiction.