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The Czech Republic could still move ahead with adult-use cannabis legalization in some form, despite legal and political hurdles and Germany’s partial retreat from its plan to regulate marijuana sales.
That’s according to a research note from Owen Bennett. an analyst for New York-headquartered investment banking company Jefferies.
It appears the Czech Republic still hopes to move ahead but is waiting for Germany’s scaled-back draft law to be published to gauge the European Commission’s reaction, Bennett wrote, citing a report in industry publication Business of Cannabis.
Bennett wrote that cannabis regulation faces legal hurdles under both international and European law.
But, he noted, “the likely bigger stumbling block for legal challenges lies in the issue of the free movement of goods and services, which is one of the pillars of the EU.”
“This, we understand, is one of the main reasons Germany scaled back its plans.”
Germany requires European assurance that its plan to regulate cannabis wouldn’t violate international law, because the country is part of the Schengen Area, which comprises 27 countries that have officially abolished passport and other controls at their mutual borders.
According to Bennett, if only a few countries in Europe end cannabis prohibition and employ a system of regulated sales, that creates potential problems for states that have not legalized cannabis because of the continent’s free movement of goods and services.
“For us, what happens here will be a key watch-out,” the analyst wrote.
“If the Czech Republic pushes ahead, and there potentially is not a legal challenge, or there is, and it is successful, or indeed it pursues one of its ‘other solutions,’ then this could provide motivation for other countries, like Germany, that have been considering a recreational market, but were worried about repercussions, to also move ahead,” Bennett wrote.
Business of Cannabis reported that Czech Minister of Health Vlastimil Valek was waiting for Germany to unveil its draft law and to see how the European Commission responds, citing the health sector news website ZdraveZpravy.cz.
The Toronto-based publication noted that the more cautious approach is at odds with Czech Anti-Drug Coordinator Jindrich Voboril, who is reportedly pushing ahead with the establishment of a commercial market.
There could be unforeseen political hurdles.
The health minister reportedly also noted there is currently not a consensus among the ruling five-party coalition regarding cannabis reform.