History of CBD and Cannabis: Lithuania
Resting in the Baltic region of Europe, Lithuania is a compact country nestled between the Baltic Sea, Latvia, and Belarus.
Just a year before the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Lithuania became the first proto-Soviet state to once again declare itself independent. Unlike other Eastern European countries, Lithuania has rapidly expanded its rule of law, gross domestic product, and human development index over the past two decades.
Even so, cannabis crime continues to present a challenge to state officials. Throughout the nineties, the popularity of drug crime grew as the economy struggled to cope with a lack of business investment and decreases in centralized state resources.
Although the country is only a small consumer, Lithuania’s relationship to cannabis represents the historic influence of Soviet rule, independence, and cultural norms towards drug use.
Cannabis, CBD, and Lithuania
It’s unknown when cannabis was first introduced to Lithuania. The small region has a temperate yet chilly climate year round, ranging from temperatus 27 degree Fahrenheit to 71 degrees in the summers. Since growing conditions are somewhat unfavorable, almost all cannabis is either grown indoors or imported from the country’s southern countries.
Nevertheless, cannabis has been one of the most popular illicit substances among young, economically disenfranchised Lithuanians for decades. When the country gained independence, a legal vacuum opened up, which granted many young people access to cannabis that flowed freely through urban centers.
Currently, cannabis is illegal for recreational use. However, in October of 2018, the legislature officially approved a bill that would make marijuana legal for medical use. Under the new program, qualified patients who’ve received a doctor’s note are able to grow their own plants or secure marijuana from a legal dispensary.
As a member of the European Union, Lithuanian officials have repeatedly bumped heads against other member states. In 2013, Lithuania became the only country in the EU to formally ban the cultivation, use, and consumption of industrial hemp.
Soon enough, this law was reversed in less than a year through effective citizen lobbying. In September of 2013, officials voted nearly unanimously to reinstate the legal status hemp, which finally let CBD vendors and hemp growers back into the market by the beginning of 2014.
Over the past few years, Lithuanian officials have been emboldened to step into cannabis policy reform. Many EU countries are modeling the pathway that member states can take in order to realize a fully legal, economically beneficial cannabis market.