New Russian bill may legalize importation of cannabis for medical research

The Russian Health Ministry has drafted a bill authorizing the importation of cannabis for the purpose of studying the drug’s “addiction-causing capacities.”

New amendments to the legislation propose importing 1.1kg of marijuana, 300g of hashish, and 50g of hash oil. The legislation would also increase the importation quota of tetrahydrocannabinol – the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects – from 10g to 50g per annum.

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The document emphasizes that imported cannabis could be only used for scientific purposes, and that its use for medicinal purposes would remain prohibited in Russia.

However, the Health Ministry noted that the medical use of marijuana is “on the table” for the WHO and other international bodies.

There are claims that medical cannabis has several health benefits, such as reducing pain, spasms and nausea caused by chemotherapy. Cannabinoids have also been recommended for treatment of arthritis, migraine and glaucoma.

More than 20 countries have legalized the medicinal use of cannabis in recent years. In the United States, the medical use of cannabis is legal in 33 states and in the District of Columbia.

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In October, Canada followed in the footsteps of Uruguay, which became the first country in the world to legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana without prescription in 2013.

Several petitions were made to legalize marijuana in Russia, but they failed to get enough support. Current Russian laws forbid any use of cannabis, and the possession of even small amounts of marijuana can result in convictions and fines.