Under Croatian law, the use of cannabis for recreational purposes has been decriminalized. Meanwhile, the use of cannabis for certain medical purposes has been legalized.
Decriminalization of cannabis for personal use
In 2013, the Croatian government made a distinction between heavy drugs and light drugs such as cannabis. Croatian law still indicates that cannabis, including its derivatives like THC, is illegal, and that cultivating or selling it is considered a felony. Such act is punishable by at least three years in prison. But starting 2013, the possession of cannabis in small quantities is a minor offense, so offenders do not face jail time, but are merely required to pay a fine of HRK5,000 to HRK20,000 or USD800 to USD3500, depending on the severity of the case.
Legalization of cannabis for medical use
In October 2015, Croatia’s Ministry of Health officially legalized cannabis-based drugs for medical use by patients who are suffering from cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, tumors, child epilepsy, and other illnesses. Patients can get up to 0.75 grams of THC each month. Allowed forms of medical cannabis are ointments, teas, CBD oil, and other cannabis extracts. Smoking or vaporizing marijuana is prohibited.
Medical marijuana prescriptions can be obtained from doctors and these prescriptions need to be renewed every month.
Croatia is first Balkan country to make medical cannabis legal
Croatia’s medical cannabis legislation made it the first Balkan nation to legalize medical cannabis.
The legislation was a result of a months-long campaign by medical marijuana proponents and supporters. A committee of medical professionals was also formed prior to legalization. The committee, led by Professor Ognjen Brborović, traveled around Europe to conduct its own research pertaining to the therapeutic, social, and even the legal effects of medical cannabis. They examined various medical cannabis programs set in place in other parts of the continent and weighed the pros and cons.
Brborović and the rest of the team had managed to convince lawmakers, police, the media, and the general public that thousands of Croatians will be able to benefit from legalizing medical cannabis and that it would be in the interest of everyone to make the system work.
While the committee specified medical conditions that will benefit from cannabis-based treatment, it warned against the use of cannabis products by people with ordinary epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, depression, or other kinds of psychiatric disorders.
It is with the committee’s recommendation that policymakers in the country approved the legalization of medical marijuana.
Croatia’s medical cannabis policy is relatively new, but observers are very optimistic about the program, seeing how there’s great cooperation between government policymakers, the medical field, and the cannabis industry.
The only problem now is that there are no cannabis growers and producers in Croatia. Patients had to look for their needed cannabis supply elsewhere. Medical cannabis products in the country are imported.