July 18, 2019
In a retrial case of two cannabis activists the Higher Court in Maribor changed the previous District Court’s acquittal into a conviction this Tuesday. Sanjin Janšar, founder of the Cannabis Social Club Maribor, was sentenced to one year in prison, while his colleague Tomaž Zagoršak got a one-year suspended sentence with a three-year probation period.
Both men were found responsible for the existence of 44 Cannabis plants, about 6 kg of dried cannabis, 6g of resin and 700 ml of a THC ointment, confiscated in a January 2016 police raid of the Pekarna Cultural Centre in Maribor. According to more than twenty witness testimonials at the first level of the trial, the drugs were mostly sold or given to people in order to treat their various medical conditions.
The District Court then acquitted Sanjin Janšar and Zagoršek in 2017, arguing that with their illegal activities the two were in fact improving, not harming, people’s health, an argument supported by witness testimonials, but as Mladina later pointed out, this was not supported by any expert medical opinion, as the court expert was never called to testify on the possible reasons for of marijuana use and any improvements in patients’ health.
The prosecutor complained at the Higher Court, which eventually decided for a retrial. A new judgement at the Higher Court this Tuesday found the men guilty of illegal production and trafficking of a controlled substance. In sentencing, the court observed the prosecution’s reminder that cannabis remains an illegal substance in the Republic of Slovenia, as well as the defence citing the disproportionality of the small significance of the offence compared to the possible damage achieved by a guilty verdict. The court therefore decided to sentence Jašar to one-year in prison and Zagoršek to one year’s suspended sentence.
In 2017 marijuana was reclassified from class one, among the most harmful of the controlled substances, to a class two controlled substance which can be used in medicine.