Ukrainian Lawmakers Vote to Approve Medical Cannabis Legislation

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A recent vote will place the bill before the president for final approval.

On Thursday, December 21, 2023, the Verkhovna Rada—the Ukrainian parliament—voted to make medical cannabis legal in the country; it was supported by 248 lawmakers (1). If approved, the law will take effect in six months and a doctor’s prescription will be necessary to obtain the medicine (1). Cannabis for recreational uses will remain illegal (1).

The bill was proposed by Prime Minister Denys Smyhal (1). Earlier this year, the parliament passed an initial vote on the issue, which was then approved in October by the National Health, Medical Care and Health Insurance Committee (1). Those who oppose the bill are concerned recreational drug use would increase in the country (2,3). Supporters of the bill argue that medical cannabis is needed for mental and physical treatment of patients, soldiers, and civilians with cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other conditions (2). The bill would also enable cannabis to be used for scientific purposes (3).


"We applaud the Ukrainian people for embracing medical cannabis,” said Jeffrey M. Zucker, co-founder and president of a cannabis consulting firm, to Forbes (1). “The success of this legislation isn't just about access to a plant; it's about offering hope and healing to a nation scarred by unimaginable trauma. It's about compassion, recognizing the suffering of the Ukrainian people and offering them a tool for healing. It's about showing the world that even in the darkest of times, Ukraine chooses to embrace hope and science for the sake of its citizens."

In June 2023, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave a speech before the Verkhovna Rada outlining, among other topics, how medical cannabis will be part of the post-war rehabilitation of the soldiers and the country (4).

The bill will now go to Zelenskyy for approval (1).

Read our full coverage on medical cannabis in Ukraine and President Zelenskyy’s speech.


  1. Dorbian, I. Ukraine lawmakers vote to legalize medical cannabis (accessed Dec 21, 2023).
  2. Balmforth, T. Ukrainian lawmakers back legalisation of medical cannabis | Reuters (accessed Dec 21, 2023).
  3. Ukraine lawmakers vote to legalize medical marijuana and help ease stress from the war with Russia (accessed Dec 21, 2023).
  4. Zelenskyy, V. The victorious Ukraine will be a country worthy of its heroes - president’s speech at the Plenary Session of the verkhovna rada on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution (accessed Dec 21, 2023).