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Pirate Party MP to propose legalizing recreational cannabis, medical use of LSD, ecstasy, mushrooms

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Czech opposition MP Tomas Vymazal plans to propose breakthrough legislation this year that would not only legalize marijuana for recreational purposes but also enable doctors to prescribe psychotropic hallucinogens such as LSD, MDMA (ecstasy) and psilocybin, daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) writes today.

“Similarly to the current practice of cannabis prescriptions, specialized medical workplaces would be able to prescribe the [above] substances,” Vymazal told HN.

In the spring, he plans to establish an expert team to discuss concrete conditions for psychotropic substances legalization.

Psilocybin, a psychedelic substance, is contained in the psilocybe mushrooms.

“The mushrooms are very useful for soldiers returning from foreign missions and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder,” Vymazal said.

Tomas Vymazal

Vymazal says he is aware that his plan is something the Czech parliament has never before dealt with, and that it will take many of his fellow MPs by surprise. Nevertheless, he believes that he can lean on strong arguments.

He won’t find any support from Chamber of Deputies for his plan, however, HN writes, adding that Vymazal’s idea has been opposed by Health Minister Adam Vojtech (for ANO).

Vojtech said steps like those planned by Vymazal can only be taken on the basis of medical research results, not vice versa. It is impossible for legislation to precede the research, Vojtech emphasized.

Jan Bartosek, who heads the opposition Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) group of deputies, said it is first necessary to find out whether current medicine offers other opportunities to solve the health problems that Vymazal mentioned as suitable to treat with psychotropic drugs.

In this connection, Bartosek mentioned pervitin (methamphetamine), which could help treat selected types of mental disorders. However, there also exist safer substances with a similar effect, he said.

Experts are split on Vymazal’s idea. Some researchers have admitted a possible positive effect of the substances in question, but Czech Doctors’ Chamber spokesman Michal Sojka told the Pirates they should focus on more important troubles of the healthcare sector, such as the shortage of money and personnel, and the closures of hospital wards, the daily writes.

“These are quite marginal issues concerning a small number of patients,” Sojka said about Vymazal’s plan to legalize hallucinogens, adding that it is hard for doctors to explain that smoking is unhealthy in a situation where cannabis is publicly presented as a medicine.

Psychologist Ivan Douda said he can imagine LSD or ecstasy functioning as a medicine, but not all doctors should be authorized to prescribe them.

“In Britain, for example, they can even prescribe cocaine or heroin to you. However, this can be done only by a specialist, of whom there is a mere handful and who also bear responsibility for the risks such patients are faced with,” Douda is quoted as saying.

Several studies related to the issue have been underway at the National Institute of Mental Health based in Klecany near Prague. One of them inquires into psilocybin’s effect in the treatment of depressions that are untreatable otherwise. Another study focuses on the effect of assisted MDMA therapy on patients with post-traumatic stress disorders. These international studies will probably be completed this year and further studies will follow. Experts’ position on Vymazal’s proposal may be known in the course of 2021, HN writes.

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