Croatia is about to legalise marijuana… Here’s how things are
The situation regarding the “legal marijuana” trade is not the same in all European countries. Even though CBD cannot alter the psyche of those who use it, its marketing is still considered taboo in some countries (although there are now very few of them). However, there are countries that are also considering making progress on marijuana.
Croatia is one of them, as a European Union member, Croatia now seems ready to legalise marijuana. We are not talking about legal cannabis with a very low THC content, like CBD cannabis, but rather cannabis flowers that contain high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol.
As you can well imagine, we are talking about the recreational use of cannabis, and Croatia could be the first country in Europe to make recreational marijuana completely legal.
Croatia and the pro-marijuana bill
In recent years, the Croatian Democratic Union has begun to soften its strict stance on marijuana use. However, many people feel that decriminalising the personal use of cannabis is not enough and is calling for its full legalisation.
It is a bill that would fully authorise the use of marijuana, mainly aimed at improving the economy, exploiting this product for medical and recreational purposes, and above all, slowing down the black market, as has happened in other states such as Uruguay, Canada and Colorado.
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Details of the bill regarding the legalisation of cannabis in Croatia
The Cannabis bill proposes a hybrid state/private management model for cannabis to maintain high product quality. Each adult could grow up to 9 female cannabis plants (i.e. producing marijuana flowers) with a high THC content; all aimed for purely personal and recreational use.
The draft also speaks of the enormously positive economic impact of legalising cannabis in Croatia, especially if one thinks of the development of scientific research, the production of cosmetics, paper and many other products derived from hemp.
The environment must also be considered:
- The hemp plant roots are capable of absorbing heavy metals and transforming them into harmless substances (they clean the soil).
- Hemp plant absorbs up to four times the amount of CO2 stored by trees during its growth. When used in construction, this plant retains the same properties, so much so that it removes more CO2 from the environment than is released during its manufacture (carbon negative). By contrast, classic construction, such as reinforced concrete and other materials, accounts for up to 40% of CO2 emissions.
What is the current law on marijuana in Croatia?
Under current Croatian law, both growing and trading cannabis are criminal offences punishable by imprisonment. Anyone caught in possession of small amounts of marijuana (or other soft drugs) is a minor administrative offence, usually punishable by a fine of HRK 5,000 to 20,000.
However, in 2015, the Croatian Ministry of Health made it legal to use marijuana-based medicines for patients with diseases such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, AIDS and more.
The Lex Cannabis bill presented in mid-February 2020 offers high hopes for marijuana legalisation and for recreational use. Mirela Holy, in particular, says that people’s reactions compared to a few years ago have changed significantly. While until recently, most politicians were against legal recreational cannabis, now opinions tend to be positive.
According to Holy, to change attitudes about weed with a high THC content use, people first need to inform themselves.
Quoting her words, “The addictive potential of cannabis is significantly less than that of nicotine and alcohol. And, as far as I know, no person has ever died of an overdose from natural cannabis’” (she intends to differentiate it from synthetic cannabis).
She continues explaining that “there is enormous prejudice about it, also fuelled by the interests of certain groups and industries.”
We now await developments on the cannabis legalisation in Croatia… While in many other EU countries, the political agreement has yet to be found on the legality of selling light cannabis, which has a THC content of less than 0.2%.