Marijuana is illegal in Hungary. Under the law, there isn’t any distinction between marijuana and other illicit drugs like heroin and cocaine, even in terms of the dangers they pose.
Hungary’s marijuana culture
Marijuana has held a very important place in Hungarian culture throughout history, but because of international laws, the country has adopted some of the continent’s most repressive laws during the 20th century.
However, despite marijuana being totally prohibited, a lot of Hungarian people still smoke weed. It is considered to be the most popular prohibited drug in the country. In Hungary, marijuana is available in many varieties, and in really good quality, too.
According to the Hungarian National Report’s 2011 statistics, 19.4% of 16-year-olds in the country had tried marijuana, compared to just 10.3% for a mix of alcohol and medicines, which is the second most popular intoxicant option.
Meanwhile, this year’s report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction shows that marijuana still holds the title of being the top drug of choice for Hungary’s drug users. The EMCDDA’s 2017 report states that marijuana is mostly used by Hungarians 18 to 34 years old. However, the latest data show that marijuana use is declining among the young adults, while cocaine, amphetamine, and ecstasy use has been rising since 2007.
While Hungarian law does not differentiate between different kinds of illicit drugs, it distinguishes between the sale and personal use of marijuana (and other drugs) and has different punishments for these.
For marijuana to be considered in “small amounts” and for personal use, it should contain no more than 1 gram of the active substance THC, which means 12 to 100 grams of marijuana, assuming it has a THC concentration of 1% to 8%. Anything containing more than 1 gram of THC is already considered “larger amounts.”
Offenders caught in possession of small quantities of marijuana face a jail term of up to two years. Those caught with larger quantities can be imprisoned between one to five years.
Meanwhile, the sale of small quantities of marijuana is punishable by up to two years of custodial sentence. Those that involve larger quantities could mean two to eight years in prison. However, in aggravating circumstances or in cases that involve particularly huge amounts of marijuana, penalties could increase to up to 20 years in jail or even life imprisonment.
The production of marijuana is punishable by one to five years of custodial sentence. If the production is done in a commercial capacity, custodial sentence is between two to eight years. Jail term can increase to a maximum of five to 15 years if the amount produced is considered substantial.
If the offender – whether it is for possession and consumption, sale, or cultivation of marijuana – is addicted to drugs and, prior to the arrest, has been treated for this addiction, the courts cannot prosecute.
In practice, harsh penalties for the possession and consumption, sale, or cultivation of small quantities of marijuana are rarely carried out if the persons involved are first-time offenders. They are merely given a reprimand, a probation order, or a suspended sentence. On subsequent offenses, however, prosecution must result.
How about medical marijuana?
Hungarian law still has no provision for medical marijuana, and there is very little sign that this is going to change anytime soon. There is, however, a possibility that Sativex, which is a formulated extract of the cannabis sativa plant in spray form, may be approved soon. There were several research facilities in the country involved in clinical trials in order to examine the efficacy of the said drug in the treatment of cancer. The results of the trial, though, were not promising.