History Of CBD And Cannabis In: Serbia
There is no doubt about it: Cannabis legalization has swept the world. Fifteen years ago, you could barely find a governmental jurisdiction where cannabis was legal in any way. Today, times have changed, and cannabis is legal (in some form or fashion) in dozens of countries. At the same time, many have reproached their drug policies in general, opting to pursue programs which concentrate resources towards rehabilitation and treatment, as opposed to incarceration.
However, that trend has not been uniform, even in areas of the world which have been more receptive to cannabis legalization and liberalization, like Europe. Serbia is an example of this. Despite a somewhat concentrated effort to liberalize its cannabis laws Serbia has remained steadfast in keeping marijuana possession criminalized.
History Of Cannabis In Serbia
Cannabis and hemp was first brought to the country via its neighbors in Italy. At the time, hemp was believed to help a man’s sexual prowess, so much so that some men actually wore hemp fiber under the belief that it would help increase their sexual strength.
Serbia was criminalized in 1929, when it’s predecessor country (Yugoslavia) ratified the International Opium Convention. This convention criminalized many drugs, including marijuana.
Legal Status & Reform Efforts In Serbia
All forms of marijuana use remain illegal in Serbia. This includes recreational and medical marijuana use.
As noted by this Business Insider article, this makes Serbia somewhat of an outlier in Europe, as most countries have taken steps to at least legalize medical marijuana, including Serbia’s Balkan neighbors of Bosnia and North Macedonia.
Prison sentences for marijuana possession are significant, and those caught violating the law can be fined and sent to jail for up to three years. Cultivation of marijuana can result in six months to five years, while marijuana trafficking can result in a twelve year prison sentence.
That is not to say that the country has been without any efforts to liberalize their marijuana laws. The first record of a marijuana reform protest took place in 2005, when roughly fifty people took part in a Ganja March. A second march, set to take place in 2007, was cancelled when the Serbian Minister of the Interior received a threatening Email which was supposedly sent by march organizers. Since then, other panels and marches have been held, including some which have been attended by Serbian celebrities.
In 2014, those efforts appeared to be gaining some government support when Serbia’s Health Minister, Dukic Dejanovic, said that he supported legalizing medical marijuana. However, nothing ever materialized from this conversation, and no formal move was made by the Serbian Prime Minister or National Assembly to legalize medical marijuana.
In 2017, Goran Cabradi, a member of Serbia’s Parliament, introduced a bill to legalize medical marijuana. It never moved.
CBD production, however, appears to be legal, as Eviana Health has started to produce CBD in Serbia.