Russia’s left-wing presidential candidate Ksenia Anatolyevna Sobchak is calling for the legalization of cannabis in the country.
Sobchak, who is a journalist, TV anchor, socialite, actress, and former reality TV star, said that cannabis is safer than vodka. Vodka, the liquor of choice among Russians, has created a national health crisis. According to a research published in 2014, Russia has extremely high rates of premature deaths and that a look into the external causes of these deaths has established a connection with excessive vodka consumption.
Sobchak said she just does not understand why drinking large amounts of vodka is seen as a normal practice in Russia but using cannabis is not when the latter has fewer consequences.
Sobchak clarified, though, that she does not use cannabis, nor does she drink vodka by the bottle. She said that she just does not understand why drinking large amounts of vodka is seen as a normal practice in Russia but using cannabis is not, considering that cannabis has fewer consequences, as is proven by crime statistics.
Known as Russia’s Paris Hilton, Sobchak is creating further controversy in the country by running for president in the first place. She is considered an unlikely candidate to challenge current president Vladimir Putin.
Cannabis in Russia
Cannabis and all cannabis-related activities are considered illegal in Russia. This applies to both medical and recreational cannabis. To read more about our article on the country’s stance on cannabis, click here.
Many are hopeful that with a presidential candidate calling for cannabis legalization in a country that does not acknowledge even the medical benefits of the drug, it will at least push the debates forward.
The 36-year-old Sobchak, however, is no stranger to politics. She came from a well-respected political family. Her father, Anatoly Sobchak, was St. Petersburg’s first elected mayor and was one of the framers of the country’s modern constitution. He was also known as Putin’s mentor.
Sobchak officially announced her candidacy in October 2017 and calls herself the “candidate against all.” The “against all” or “none of the above” option has been excluded from Russia’s ballot since the 2004 election. She said that with this slogan, she wanted to give people the opportunity to vote “against all.”
She, however, promised to withdraw her candidacy if the Central Election Commission allows opposition activist Alexey Navalny to run for presidency. Navalny’s registration has been rejected by the commission and he is barred from challenging Putin after he was convicted of embezzlement.
Sobchak originally put herself forward as an independent candidate, which would have required her to gather at least 300,000 signatures to be registered and admitted to the election. However, she was later nominated by the political party Civil Initiative or People’s Freedom Party.
Russia’s presidential election will be on March 18, 2018. If no candidate gets an absolute majority of the votes, a second round of election will take place three weeks later, which will be on April 8, 2018.
Putin, who is seeking reelection, is widely expected to win, consistently scoring higher than 40 percent in opinion polls.