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While Czechia is a relatively tolerant country and personal drug usage is decriminalized, there are still recurring news reports of elderly citizens being arrested and having their property confiscated for cultivating small amounts of cannabis plants for the purpose of creating soothing balms for themselves and their close circles.

Similar stories continue to emerge. The black market also poses undeniable risks in terms of substance quality, and those involved in it face potential fines and imprisonment as a consequence of their entrepreneurial activities. Additionally, certain user groups, such as the elderly, face limited accessibility, while others, like underage students, may encounter overly accessible unregulated sources.

Our team in Czechia has always taken issue with this situation. As early as 2017, they organized an international conference called “End the Drug War” in Brno. Since then, they have written and published numerous texts, including a fact-rich printed booklet in collaboration with a harm reduction-oriented partner organization. Earlier this year, they distributed this booklet to students. 

Led by our volunteer from Brno, Radek Cieslar, the team also actively engages in on-the-ground harm reduction efforts. They have been present at recent large student festivals in Brno, where they set up a harm reduction tent. In this tent, they offer water, refreshments, a place to rest, and assistance to festivalgoers who may find themselves in situations of overconsumption. This is also where they distribute their other recent booklets, which are pocket-size publications promoting responsible approaches to drug usage.

The team established partnerships with a broader range of organizations that share the long-term objective of assisting drug users and influencing the country’s policy. This progress can be attributed to the “Legalize It!” conference they organized in the autumn. The conference not only introduced many new students to the topic and reasons for legalization but also featured the country’s foremost advocate for legalization. Additionally, a significant debate took place between a pro-legalization medical doctor and the director of the Czech drug police, which left a strong impact.

Filip Blaha, Students For Liberty's National Coordinator for Czechia

Shortly after the conference, Filip Blaha, our National Coordinator for Czechia, joined a consulting expert working group appointed by the Czech government to address the legalization of recreational cannabis. The group comprises addictologists, economists, and representatives from the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, and other interest groups. 

Filip’s responsibilities within the group included calculating expected tax revenues based on international experiences to support the advocacy for policy acceptance in parliament. He also advocated for lower taxation and regulation. The final version of the legislation is expected to be prepared by the end of the year.

Thanks to the group’s efforts, significant flaws in the government’s original proposal have already been eliminated. For instance, licenses for users with consumption monitoring have been removed. Additionally, the group successfully managed to reduce the initially proposed tax rates on cannabis products and the costs associated with dispensary licenses. 

Once enacted, this law will represent a significant stride toward an improved drug policy in the country, with the hope that further progress will follow in the near future.

Students For Liberty is the largest pro-liberty student organization in the world.

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