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Cannabis Circulation Law Promulgated

The Law "On Regulation of Circulation of Hemp Plants (Cannabis) for Medical and Industrial Use in Scientific and Scientific & Technological Activities to Create Conditions for Expanding Patients' Access to Necessary Treatment of Oncological Diseases and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders Acquired as Result of War" (the "Law") was published on 16 February 2024. The Law enters into force on 16 August 2024.

The Law does not provide for full legalisation, free circulation or recreational use of cannabis and its derivatives in Ukraine. Its main objective is to regulate the circulation of cannabis and cannabis tars, extracts and tinctures, as well as tetrahydrocannabinol ("THC"), its isomers and their stereochemical variants for medical use and the use in scientific and R&D activities only.

The Law aims to relieve millions of patients with various illnesses by facilitating their access to appropriate treatment. Also, the Law creates lucrative prospects in Ukraine for interested domestic and foreign businesses (the "Companies").

Reclassification

To enable the circulation of cannabis and its derivates in Ukraine, the Law mandates the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (the "CMU") to amend the List of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors approved by its Resolution No. 770 of 6 May 2000 and move the THC-containing substances from the prohibited substances to the restricted ones.

Business

The Law allows the Companies to engage in the cultivation, production, purchase, import, use, storage, transportation, destruction, and sale of the hemp plant, its derivatives and hemp-containing substances under licences only.

The Companies must comply with certification and protection requirements for the premises and equipment used to handle plants and THC-containing substances (the "Premises").

The use of cannabis-based narcotic drugs in a non-medical practice is prohibited except for the medicines authorised by the state and evaluated in clinical trials. Only licensed scientific and educational institutions can develop new narcotic drugs.

Control

The Companies that sow, grow and process hemp for industrial use are entered in a special register maintained on a declarative basis by the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine. The National Police of Ukraine (the "Police") has real-time access to it.

The cannabis cultivation for educational, scientific and R&D purposes as well as the manufacture of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and medicines for medical practice is allowed only on the protected Premises, e.g., a glasshouse, by, at least, the second generation of the standard and certified seeds purchased per established procedures. The Premises are subject to round-the-clock monitoring and regular access by the Police.

To trace the hemp for medical use, the Companies must apply electronic identifiers to each cannabis plant and each batch of its derivative products as well as to each pack, including medicines made of them, and must enter this information in the relevant electronic register.

The Police are actively involved in the protection of cannabis plants and derived substances. E.g., the Police engage in the transits of narcotic drugs through the territory of Ukraine, annually inspect and contractually protect the Premises.

Quota

Most business activities, including the production, storage, import and export, with THC-containing plants, their derivative products and medicines are subject to quotas set by the CMU.

Until 1 January 2028, the Law has imposed a zero quota for import into Ukraine of cannabis plants as well as narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances derived from it. The exceptions are:

  • R&D
  • cannabis import as an active pharmaceutical ingredient for local medicines manufacture
  • import of finished pharmaceutical products
  • import of seeds and planting material

Concentration

Temporarily, the Law limits the maximum permitted level of THC in the industrial hemp straw to 0.2%. Three years later, the level shall increase to 0.3 %. For the hemp used in production of medicines the level is 0.3% at least.

Treatment

Eligible patients can purchase the cannabis-based medicines, which are included in the State Register of Medicines and are prescribed by doctors in accordance with medical indications and in electronic form only. Individual is allowed to possess and carry, including across the border, a narcotic drug only within the amount prescribed by the doctor.

For further information, please contact Asters' Partner Vadym Samoilenko and Counsel Oles Kvyat.

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