Check Out the First Weed Museum in Croatia

Tourists sure like to go to museums. Almost anywhere in the world there are museums for one thing or another, often related to local history or landscape. Now, if you’re in Zagreb, you can include weed in museum activities, with Croatia’s new cannabis museum.

How cool is it that Zagreb houses Croatia’s first weed museum?! Travelers and locals should definitely check this place out. We’re an independent news publication focusing on cannabis and psychedelics stories. Keep up by signing up for the THC Weekly Newsletter. We’ve also got standout offers on cannabinoids, like HHC-O, Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP HHC, which won’t kill your bank account. Head over to our “Best-of” lists to get these deals, and remember to enjoy responsibly!


What’s the deal?

In March 2022, the very first weed museum was opened in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Where was it built? Right across from the main police station, of course, where it takes its place with an array of other odd museums related to things like hangovers, and broken hearts. As the museum’s owner Tvrtko Kračun puts it, “The plant is present in the history of humanity in almost all civilizations and undoubtedly deserves a museum.”

The museum offers a guided tour through the plant’s history, as shown through exhibits, videos and posters. The two-floor museum is 400 m2, and includes pop culture references in the form of cannabis-themed music and movies. The museum covers 10,000 years of history, along with educational information about medical cannabis and industrial hemp, as well as recreational cannabis information and warnings about excessive consumption.

The upstairs of the museum features rooms dedicated to different functions, like recreational cannabis, or medical cannabis. Exhibits exist about water bongs; cultural high points in the history of weed, like Woodstock; and historical information, like how Napoleon brought the plant from Egypt to France in the 19th century.

An exhibit also exists showing how to cultivate the plant, complete with live plants, and growing paraphernalia like lights. Here, visitors can also study the specific plants that are permitted via the EU’s cannabis list, which have all been reported to both the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Museum visitors are offered tons of cannabis facts, and cannabis stories, along with quotes from famous celebrities and politicians. In the near future, they will also be able to participate in additional workshops, although what this will entail, has not been made clear.

Admission to the museum is free for employees of the interior, health and agriculture ministries, as these are the ministries related to cannabis regulation. And get this, the admission ticket itself is a joint wrap, which can be rolled up for a puff break, after you don’t need it anymore. As cannabis with up to .2% THC is legal for sale in Croatia, the museum offers an array of hemp and CBD products in the lobby, including infused drinks, sprays, and oils. Guests are required to sign a release form in the event that a product accidentally goes above the .2% THC limit.

This is not Kračun’s first delve into the world of weed. Kračun is also the owner of a chain of head shops called hemps.hr. The idea for the museum was a way that Kračun could expand on the idea, and get through to more people. The lobby in which patrons can buy hemp products is actually a hemps.hr store, which also acts as the general entrance to the museum.

Cannabis in Croatia

If the weed museum in Croatia gives the impression that Croatia is totally cool with recreational cannabis use, this assumption is incorrect. In Croatia, The Law on Combating Drugs Abuse of 2010, regulates the manufacture, trade, and possession of drugs in the country. Cannabis is illegal for recreational use according to that law. In 2012, Croatia did pass a bill to decriminalize the personal use of illicit substances, however, it never defined exactly what a ‘personal amount’ is. This law made these offenses misdemeanors, rather than criminal offenses.

In terms of a personal use law, this one is shabby at best, still requiring large fines from offenders, which can exceed €2,000. Other options include rehab programs, or community service. This is, indeed, a step up from the punishment of up-to-three years imprisonment for simple possession, which it was before the update. Still not as lax as most personal use laws that exist in the world, but certainly an improvement for the country.

weed Croatia

Cultivation (even for personal use) was not included in this update, and remains illegal. Cultivation crimes, along with production crimes, can incur six months – five years in prison. Sales crimes can land a person in prison for 2-12 years. This sentence can increase to 15 years if children are involved, and up to 20 for organized crime.

Croatia does allow limited medical cannabis as of a 2015 law, which permits doctors to write prescriptions for cannabis medications. Individual patients cannot exceed .75mg of THC a month, so the market revolves solely around low-THC medications. The ban on personal cultivation is bypassed slightly here as of a 2019 amendment to the Law on Combatting Drug Abuse. The amendment doesn’t allow in-house growing for individuals, but does permit private institutions with the right licensing, to grow low-THC weed. This means the medical market is no longer solely an import market.

Does Croatia want legal recreational cannabis?

The trend these days is for countries to move closer and closer to recreational legalizations. Croatia is no different, though no law has made it through yet. In February of 2020, Mirela Holy, the president of the Social Democratic Party’s Green Development Council, introduced a recreational cannabis bill. The bill was also meant to legalize the commercial use of hemp. Holy pushed the bill on the strength of the economic value to the country.

In terms of whether the population of the country agrees, or if such a bill came out too soon in a country like Croatia, Holy pointed out, “When I started talking about it a few years ago, the reactions were terrible, but things have changed.” The bill didn’t make it through, but it does go to show there’s a trajectory. In nearly any location with a legalization measure, the measure that passed is generally not the first measure put forth.

Holy might have gotten slightly ahead of herself, but she also seems to be a voice of reason within a slow-reacting government. She wants hemp reinstated for its previous industrial uses, including the manufacture of things like paper, clothing, and fuel. As the economic aspect of the cannabis plant is the impetus for many legalizations worldwide, what Holy is pushing for, should be realized soon enough.

Holy has been supporting hemp reform for years, partly based on the idea of improving environmental regulation. She previously acted as Minister for Environment under Zoran Milanovic’s government, from 2011-2012. As a seasoned politician, she likely understands it’s a long-winded battle with many moving pieces. Her bill was probably meant as a way to get a conversation started, with no immediate expectation of passage. This is still important in the general progression, as every conversation needs to start somewhere.

hemp uses

If nothing else, Holy’s bill did get things going in terms of putting this idea in peoples’ heads. It is quite a leap to go from a semi-decriminalization measure that still attaches stiff penalties, to an overall legalization measure, overnight. But at least now, people are talking about the possibility.

Conclusion

If you happen to go to Croatia, and you’re a pot fan, definitely take some time to check this place out. Not only is the first weed museum in Croatia an interesting place to learn about cannabis and its many functions, (and to try some interesting products), but it also helps support a greater movement to educate about the plant, and get it legalized for more uses. Perhaps the existence of this museum is another indication that Croatia is heading for some intense cannabis reform in the near future.

If you can’t make it to the weed museum, try to stop by a local hemps.hr store. Pick yourself up some awesome products, while also promoting the legal cannabis industry in Croatia.

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Is Croatia Trying to Legalize Recreational Cannabis?

Like many EU countries, Croatia has been slowly changing its laws to allow for greater legal (or at least decriminalized) cannabis use. However, earlier this year, some in Croatia’s government got a bit impatient, attempting to jump steps in order to legalize recreational cannabis.

Two of the legal acts that govern drug law in Croatia are the Criminal Code and The Law on Combating Drugs Abuse. The manufacturing, trade, and possession of drugs are regulated by The Law on Combating Drugs Abuse which passed in 2001, and which has undergone updates since that time. It outlines preventative measures for curbing drug use and dealing with drug users, and specifically forbids growing, possessing or supplying drugs. The Criminal Code is used for the prosecution of more serious crimes.

In mid-December, 2012, the Croatian parliament voted in a bill to decriminalize personal use amounts of illicit substances, making possession of these amounts no longer a criminal offence (but rather a misdemeanor). Croatia does not establish what a personal use amount is, and leaves the designation to the courts in each particular case.

To be clear, whereas some personal use laws in other countries come with very few repercussions so long as the amount is within the legal requirement, Croatia’s decriminalization laws still leave an offender to pay a fine of possibly more than €2,000, ordered into a rehabilitation program, or required to do community service. Before the change in law, simple possession charges could result in up to three years in jail. The Criminal Code encourages courts to use alternatives to prison whenever possible, especially when the prison sentence would otherwise be six months or less.

The law, which went into effect on January 1st, 2013, did nothing to decriminalize personal cultivation of any drug for any reason. Cultivation, processing, and production of drugs, even without intent to sell, can result in 6 months – 5 years in prison. With intent to sell it can be anywhere from 1-12 years. It can go up to 15 years if the crimes involve children, and up to 20 years with the involvement of organized crime.

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Medical cannabis in Croatia

In October, 2015, Croatia legalized the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Under the law, doctors can prescribe medications in different forms containing THC with regulations putting a cap at .75 grams of THC per month for a patient. One of the driving forces behind the change in legislation came about because of a case involving a multiple sclerosis sufferer who was caught growing and using cannabis personally to treat his symptoms. The man in question was caught with 44 pounds of cannabis with which he was using to make oil.

In April of 2019, amendments were made to the Law on Combatting Drug Abuse which opened up the cultivation and production of cannabis for medicinal purposes as long as it is low-THC. The new update allows private institutions to gain authorizations from the Croatian Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices (HALMED) to grow this low-THC cannabis. Approvals must also be gained from the Ministry of Health for all products.

Up until this update, medicinal cannabis products were strictly imported to Croatia with the new law making it possible to grow it within the country, while also opening up for outside investment. The regulatory aspects of this new update are still being worked out. Interested investors should keep an eye on it to see if the final regulations meet their business needs.

The push for recreational legalization

A look at Croatia’s history with cannabis legislation and general progress show an upward trajectory that is moving faster than some countries like Slovakia or Sweden, while being notably farther behind others like Spain and the Netherlands. Considering that Croatia’s personal use laws only knock offenders down to a misdemeanor status, while still essentially treating them like offenders, it makes what happened earlier this year even more out-of-place.

Cannabis Supply Shortages Abound In Newly Established Recreational Markets

In February of this year, president of the Social Democratic Party’s Green Development Council, Mirela Holy, introduced a bill that would legalize recreational cannabis, as well as legalizing hemp for commercial purposes. Holy pushed those in government to see the economic value of a bill like this, citing countries like Paraguay and Canada that have their own legalization models, and herself pushing a hybrid structure that would involve the government and private business working together.

As a previous Minister for Environment during Zoran Milanovic’s government in 2011-2012, Holy has been pushing environmental causes for years, with the use of hemp being a big part of it. One of her desires is for hemp to be used to its full capacity, which through history has meant being used to make nearly anything from paper to clothing to fuel, and so on. The bill would also permit adults to grow up to nine plants for personal use.

When asked if this was too soon for a country like Croatia that has been liberalizing slower than other places, Holy responded “When I started talking about it a few years ago, the reactions were terrible, but things have changed.” The bill was set for debate in the weeks that followed.

Will it happen?

Considering Croatia seems like an out-of-the-blue country for this debate to be taking place, it makes sense that Mirela Holy herself is quite a force to be reckoned with. Whereas draft legislation of this nature (coming out in a country for which it is significantly more liberal than the general standing of the country) usually gets put down rather quickly (often being a starting point for a much longer battle), this has not gone away.

How the Coronavirus Paradigm Shift Is Affecting the CBD and Cannabis Industry

The corona pandemic has done well to temporarily change the general conversation, and upcoming elections are focused on many different topics, but the question of legalization is far from gone. On July 5th, Croatians will go to the polls for a parliamentary election called for by current president Zoran Milanovic. The two main parties in competition are the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the Social Democrats (SDP). The SDP – Mirela Holy’s party – has been slightly trailing the HDZ, but should it win, one of the first orders of business is passing the recreational cannabis legislation.

As the gap between the two top parties is as narrow as a couple percentage points, this actually gives Mirela Holy, the Social Democratic Party, and the proposed recreational cannabis bill, a very good chance of success.

Conclusion – what does this mean?

It means that not only would Croatia open up its laws to allow private citizens vastly more freedom for themselves, it would also curb the illegal drug market, and open up more space for outside investment. Plus, it would take a much more serious look at hemp, its applications, and its economic possibilities, especially in the context of relieving burdens on the environment.

Mirela Holy really has her eye on the ball when it comes to economic actions that can open up entire industries while providing ways for a cleaner environment. Her push towards more hemp usage, and her law for recreational cannabis legality, show a forward-thinking individual who might be a bit ahead of her time for her country, but who seems perfectly capable of bringing her country up to speed.

If nothing else, and even if Holy loses and the bill doesn’t pass now, Croatia has already begun the process of entering the global medicinal cannabis market. As Croatia defines its system and starts handing out licenses, the cannabis money will start coming in, and with a person like Holy around, the push for recreational freedom is not likely to go away until the relevant laws are passed. So, here’s to a victory by the SDP next month, and Croatia actually making the jump to legal recreational cannabis.

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