The benefits of medical marijuana are gaining popularity in countries far from the US and Canada. This week a government advisory body in the Czech Republic is reviewing a medical marijuana law that would legalize growing and using marijuana for medical reasons. A medical marijuana patients’ group in the country has proposed a bill that included expert testimony about the benefits of medical marijuana along with a plan to have it imported and grown locally by firms that would be licensed by the government. The working group that put the proposal together is Thomas Zima, the rector of the medical faculty at Prague’s Charles University. They first proposed imports only, and have now changed the proposal to allow commercial growers to apply to grow marijuana within the country for purchase. The proposal that was introduced into the Advisory board today is on it’s first step to being introduced as possible legislation to their parliament. If it passes the advisory board, it is expected to be introduced in December. 8000 Czech citizens have signed an Internet petition in support of the proposal. Marijuana is the most popular drug in the Czech Republic and the state decriminalized possession of small amounts of the drug for personal use and cultivation of a limited number of plants at the start of 2010. Possession still, however, remains a punishable offense with police given the ability to impose spot fines at the end of June this year. Opponents of medical marijuana in the country say that move has caused problems in border towns with Germany, where they continue to take a hard line on marijuana possession. Stepped up border checks by German police on czech citizens has been blamed on the country’s move to decriminalize marijuana. They feel allowing medical marijuana will make the problem worse.