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.
STA, 29 May 2019 - The NGO DrogArt has launched a campaign to raise the level of nightlife culture in Slovenia and reduce the dangers of reckless partying.
The NGO is urging nightclubs, bars and event organisers to have trained staff available at all times and raise awareness among their guests about the dangers of drink and driving, including with brochures.
DrogArt would also like them to offer water, condoms and ear plugs to their customers free of charge.
The clubs and events organisers who will meet all these demands will be awarded a special NightArt quality certificate.
According to the head of the NightArt project, Lucija Golčer, many clubs around Europe have such certificates, which cost EUR 200 a year.
In Slovenia no club has received it yet.
DrogArt has promoted the project in several clubs in Ljubljana and one in Maribor, with its activists distributing 550 condoms and 300 ear plugs. The campaign was very well received by the revellers, Golčer said.
DrogArt campaigns against alcohol and drug abuse, offering counselling, psychotherapy and psychosocial assistance to addicts.
Its 2017 on-line survey among 554 drug users and 102 attendants of drug abuse programmes in Slovenia has shown most drug users take drugs a few times a year (22%) and several times a month but less than once a week (22%). They mostly smoke marijuana, or take MDMA, cocaine and amphetamines.
Among the attendants of drug abuse programmes, most respondents said they take drugs every day, mostly methadone, tranquillisers, heroin and marijuana.
Related: What’s on in Ljubljana…
STA, 28 April - Forty-seven people died in Slovenia in 2017 of causes related to drug abuse, seven more than in 2016, shows data from the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ).
Drug-related deaths have been rising since 2013. In 2017, one person who died was a teenager aged 15-19, four were aged 20-24, and as many as 16 were older than 45.
The vast majority of the casualties, or 79%, were men, according to the NIJZ's publication on illegal drugs in Slovenia in 2017 and in the first half of 2018.
The majority of the deaths from 2017 resulted from heroin and cocaine intoxication, 18 and 14, respectively.
As many as seven resulted from other synthetic opioids, and there were eight intentional intoxications, or overdoses.
Police processed almost 2,000 criminal acts related to illegal drugs, with cannabis accounting for the majority, followed by cocaine, heroin and amphetamines.
A survey on treatment has shown 211 persons (86.4%) who sought treatment for the first time or re-entered such treatment in 2017 did so due to problems with opioids.
Fifteen persons (6%) cited problems with cannabis as the reason for treatment.
The number of people seeking treatment for cannabis rose in 2017, after falling in 2016 for the first time in several years.
Ever since 2011, cannabis (THC) has been the drug for which patients were most often treated at the Centre for Clinic Toxicology and Pharmacology in Ljubljana.
Meanwhile, results of a survey into drug abuse has shown that 42.5% of all surveyed 17-year-olds have tried cannabis at least once, boys more often than girls.
An online survey on the use of new psychoactive substances has shown that 12% of University of Ljubljana students abuse them.
According to another online survey, carried out by the Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency in 2016, 5% of almost 3,030 persons polled were involved in driving under the influence in the 12 months before the poll, again more men and women.
In 2017, the Ministry of Labour, the Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities earmarked almost 3.3 million euro for various programmes to fight addiction.
Meanwhile, the NIJZ's estimates the country earmarked a total of 10.4 million euro to deal with the issue, including for preventive programmes.
April 20th is back again, a date that’s become synonymous with cannabis, and a time for celefWDXations and protests around the world, when millions will be burning or otherwise consuming the flowers of Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica, also known as marijuana, although, as “Gape Agape” the person interviewed for this feature – a representative of the Slovenski konopljin socialni klub (SKSK)– said right at the start of our discussion:
We'd like to emphasize that we do not like the term marijuana, because it was too often connected with prohibition and the propaganda that had led to it. We prefer the term cannabis [konoplja, in Slovene]. Similarly, we do not like the term medical, but rather medicinal — in the sense of traditional healing with herbs and such. In this context, all cannabis is medicinal.
With the correct nomenclature noted, we set out to find out more about the work of SKSK, and the campaign of legal cannabis in Slovenia.
What’s the overall goal of SKSK?
We want to that everybody can use cannabis, and not only cannabis for self-healing. For this, it is imperative that people be able to produce their own supplies, self-supply – meaning be allowed to grow their own medicine in sufficient quantities.
To achieve this it is vital that the growing of cannabis is not – by default – treated by the law as if intended for criminal activities, but understood as the free-growing of naturalised herb.
What is the next step in achieving this?
We’ve already succeeded in moving the plant from group 1 (the most dangerous substances) into group 2 of the Decree on the Classification of Illicit Drugs. Next, we need to get cannabis and THC to group 3, or remove them both – which would be the best thing – from the Decree.
What would the benefits of legalisation be for Slovenia?
It is already legalised and decriminalised to a certain extent, but growing cannabis is still potentially (by default) treated as an offence or crime. We thus demand naturalization – meaning having no legal limitations for growing and using the plant.
The benefits of liberating cannabis this way – all the way – would be numerous: lots of new jobs in growing, processing and researching the plant. The possibilities of use, and therefore options for selling it and making money, are unlimited, since the plant can be used in medicine, cosmetics, food, and can even substitute for oil – as a fuel, for making plastic – at least partially.
Is there a foreign model you want to follow?
There is no existing model (that we know of) that would be good enough for us – none of them enables free-growing that we strive for. Self-supply is allowed in certain models, but the quantities allowed are far too low to make enough medicine to cure cancer, multiple sclerosis or other serious conditions.
All existing models are steps in a better direction, but we want cannabis to be free of any legal restrictions. When there are no legal limitations there are also no limitations for discovering new applications for the herb.
How do you feel about CBD?
If we put it (too) simply: CBD helps, THC heals. The basic difference between the two is that CBD helps heal inflammation (which is the cause of numerous serious health conditions) while THC gets rid of deformed/mutated cells (i.e.. cancer cells which are unable to die and reproduce incessantly). But they are just two major cannabinoids, there are several others that play important roles in healing the body; our body needs the whole spectre of substances contained in cannabis – entourage effect.
Talking about the great majority of the “legal CBD”, the main problem is that pharmaceutical products are “cleaned” of the THC due to prohibition/regulation. Consequently, everything is diminished: cannabinoids, terpenes and other healing substances. Another problem is that CBD, being legal, is advertised as cannabis itself, but it isn’t. Too many substances are missing to equate it to the whole plant. The endocannabinoid system in human body cannot work optimally without cannabinoids, especially THC.
What do you think will happen with cannabis in Slovenia in the next few years?We will continue to work on achieving our goal – liberating cannabis of all the legal restrictions so anyone can use it in any time for any purpose. So, we will work on increasing awareness of all the benefits of the plant.
When cannabis finally becomes free for people to grow and use, we intend to continue doing what we do now, and more: educating people, growing and processing plants, finding out and creating new ways of use, selling the products…
Are there any regional differences in attitudes to cannabis in Slovenia?
Yes, there are. The centre of Slovenia is less restrictive towards cannabis, the south-west is quite nice too. But in the north-east the cannabis-related offences are treated 70% as criminal deeds, and only 30% as offences, while it is just the opposite in other regions. In the north-east growing forbidden cannabis has quite a long tradition, and is therefore more strictly punished by establishment. But the situation is getting better everywhere.
strong>Which politicians or arties are most supportive of your aims?
None, except for the ZSi movement. We tried to cooperate with lots of them, like Levica (The Left) and Pirati (The Pirates), but none of them made any substantial difference. They might claim they moved cannabis to group 2, but there were more than 50 complaints about the first change of the before mentioned Decree.
If people want to help, what can they do? (add any contact details, events, places to give money, etc)
They can get educated: www.sksk.si
Or they can support our work by donating at our bank account:
IBAN SI56 6100 0000 3512 814
Everybody can help in their own way in promoting cannabis, by growing it, using it, giving it a good name…
What do you have planned for April 20?
We’re going to paint Easter egg, of course...
However, on April 19th ŠOU (Student Organization of University of Ljubljana) is organizing the Million Marijuana March and we’ll be there. You can visit us at our stand where you can get free Ruletka rolling papers and other material.
We don’t really support 4:20 – that one should smoke cannabis only after 4:20pm. We want people to use it any time they want, even to start in the morning, not only after finishing their job.
“Zu3 se NaFu3” (= feed yourself in the morning) is one of our mottos.
I’m always on the hunt for interesting videos related to Slovenia, and – as someone who’s learning the language – also looking out anything that can help in this regard. One thing that seems to work well is Slovenian subtitles, so I can read along while hearing the English, pausing to make notes when needed.
Because April 20th is once more upon us, and thus a cannabis-themed post seems in order, the time has come to share these three travel documentaries that focus on the cultivaction and use of this widely valued, and widely demonised, plant.
All our posts on learning Slovene are here
This site’s Google Analytics show that marijuana and Slovenia are often searched for together, and while the country has a reputation as a place that grows good pot it remains illegal, with even the medicinal kind in limbo.
That’s for those varieties with high contents of THC, though, the most well-known cannabinoid and the one most responsible for the high that comes with smoking, vaping or ingesting the dried flowers of the plant. Those low in THC and high in CBD, the second most famous cannabinoid and the one most associated with the wellness industry, are legal to grow and sell, and many stores, including pharmacies and petrol stations, now offer products that claim to offer many of the benefits of marijuana without the *cough* “disorienting side effects”.
Earlier this year I wrote about Sena Flora, a retail store on Ljubljana’s Trubarjeva cesta that sells CBD buds, hash, crystals, chocolates and lotions, but today’s story moves a little further up the chain. It’s an interview with Oliver Muldoon, a British man who’s lived Slovenia for about 10 years, about his latest venture, Responsible Post, which sources and packages high CBD and low THC marijuana buds for further distribution and sale, albeit for use as “tea”.
I got in touch with Oliver and asked some questions about the business, and he was kind enough to both answer my questions and provide a few samples to help with the story, which did indeed have a pleasant, calming effect.
How long has Responsible Pot been running, and how did you get the idea?
The core mission of my company, Noodlum, which specialises in communications, is to help raise awareness of emerging industries and revolutionary technologies, and we are currently working on several projects in Slovenia, with this being the most recent.
My main work involves writing and editing, which is how I first came across this idea towards the middle of last year. Not long after helping professors at the University of Ljubljana’s Faculty of Medicine get their articles published in the Journal of Clinical Pathology, I was hired to edit a series of CBD research papers. When reading through the results I realised that the received wisdom about cannabis was completely out of step with the facts. The positives associated with the plant were evident, and empirically verifiable, but their dissemination was being restricted by taboo, misinformation and a lack of knowledge — even fear. I decided to do something about it and found reliable partners to move ahead with the project.
Observing the trend for cannabis with THC values below 0.2% to be marketed in Slovenia as a tea, as demonstrated by Vutra, BeHempy and others, we set up Responsible Pot to help support their awareness-raising efforts. As many will confirm, the aroma of cannabis has been drifting around Ljubljana’s bars, parks and coffee places for several years. Wanting to acknowledge the elephant in the room, we decided to try making the business case for a legal cannabis culture in Slovenia.
We started by approaching bars where cannabis was being used to ask the owners if they wanted to start providing a legal alternative – legally compliant cannabis buds. So far, we’ve had a great response. There are now 12 Responsible sPots throughout Slovenia, most of which are in Ljubljana, and this number is rising every week. It works for our vendors because they can keep their businesses running lawfully and they now have a completely new product range to offer when the tourists arrive this summer. Legal cannabis has been widely available in other EU countries, such as Austria and Italy, for years – visitors from those countries will be relieved to find a legal supply while on vacation.
For those who are too far away from a sPot, orders can be made online at www.responsible-pot.com. I should also mention that Vutra’s cannabis buds are available in Petrol gas stations throughout Slovenia, and Martin Fon’s Sena Flora is a great place to visit on Trubarjeva cesta. We are delighted to see awareness steadily rising.
Article 9 of the law on the production and traffic of opium poppies and cannabis in Slovenia (source)
Where do you source your cannabis products?
We have a strong scouting network throughout Italy, Austria and the rest of the EU, which have access to the best quality buds for our customers. Since the market is relatively young and still developing, options are constantly increasing and so we are always keeping a watchful eye on up-and-coming growers in the market. The Slovenian growing sector is still too small for a reliable high-quality supply at present, but we have heard that legislative changes could help Slovenia position itself at the forefront of the regulated growing scene in the years ahead.
Which of your products, if any, do you use?
We have just launched two new strains, Responsible Pot Lemon and Responsible Pot Amnesia. As you would expect, we all use our products.
What do you find are the effects of using these products?
Responsible Pot buds are cannabis buds with low levels of THC, which is the cannabinoid in the plant that gives that “stoned” feeling. With our buds, that sensation isn’t there because the level is below 0.2%. Although cannabis has been used by civilisations around the world for millennia, its general prohibition over the past century or so has not made it easy for the medical community to investigate the health benefits. Nevertheless, enough research has already been done for the World Health Organisation to recommend that CBD, one of the 113 known cannabinoids, be removed from the controlled substance list and that cannabis itself be rescheduled, in effect confirming that the plant does have some medical benefits after all.
As to what those benefits are, I would encourage anyone reading to do their own research, and to refer to their general practitioner. More information is coming out every week. Like Martin Fon, who is doing wonderful work in the centre of Ljubljana, I would recommend CBD – A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis. Healing without the High by Leonard Leinow et al., but I would also suggest contacting the ICANNA International Institute for Cannabinoids, which is doing great work to raise awareness.
Do you see your business as being part of a broader push to legalize the sale of products with a higher THC content in Slovenia?
Yes, we see business as being the driver behind acceptance of the cannabis plant generally. Full legalisation, with a sensible measured approach, is the goal because of the many advantages it brings – safety, regulation, standards, taxation, jobs, economic growth and so on. Apart from that, as we are now starting to understand, it’s the ratio of THC to the other cannabinoids that seems to be pivotal, rather than its strength in isolation. And this ratio is becoming increasingly important to people as more details on the 113 known cannabinoids come to light.
Currently the THC limit in Slovenia is 0.2%, but in Austria that figure is 0.3%. In Italy, depending on how you interpret the legislation, this figure is 0.5% or 0.6%. In Switzerland, the maximum level of THC permitted is currently 1%.
To put these figures in perspective, the cannabis typically available on the black market has THC levels of between 15 and 25%, sometimes as high as 30%. Therefore, even this 1% figure is still extremely low and still will not cause any “high” effect. Raising this very low level, even marginally, would help Slovenia’s fledgling industry to flourish.
Where do you see the biggest potential in the cannabis market in Slovenia – in growing, packaging / distributing, or sales to consumers, and do sales seem to be more common online or in brick & mortar stores?
Hopefully one day in all those areas. We see an industry in the making for Slovenian workers, and the foundations are being laid now. Recent months have been spent establishing a network of Responsible sPots in Ljubljana, but we have now switched to promoting wholesale and online sales too.
First and foremost, Responsible Pot is a movement to get people to start using cannabis responsibly. We’re promoting a common-sense solution to cannabis use through business. But this is a quest to get cannabis understood and accepted by mainstream society rather than an attempt to gain market share or profits, which is why we have decided to sacrifice some of the latter for exposure and awareness. At under €9 per gram, our buds are among the most competitively priced on the market.
There are several other cannabis companies joining us in Slovenia, and we all have a common goal – to increase mainstream acceptance of this wonderful plant. Its use is widespread and everyone either uses cannabis or knows someone else who does. After seeing what’s happened with legalisation in Canada and some US states, who lead the way with global trends, we think it’s time to make stronger efforts to help the largely decent and law-abiding cannabis community feel more part of society – and to feel comfortable doing so. We want to remove this ridiculous sense of “shame” a huge chunk of our population wrongly feels, generate some extra taxes, and start to build a new industry so that Slovenia can get new jobs and more options for its young people.
Where can people buy your products, and learn more about your business?
We have several partners in Ljubljana, which is where we’re based, and then in Bled and Slovenj Gradec. These venues are called Responsible sPots and lead the way with providing cannabis to their consumers in a law abiding and regulated environment.
Currently, Responsible Pot is available at Daktari, Icelend on Copova, Etna Picerija, the Craft Room, Kavarna Eipper, Kavarna Zofa, Sunrise Bar, Bar 200, Kafetarna in Trzin, Castle Hostel 1004 in Bled and the Tea Room in Slovenj Gradec. Customers can also now order online.
Anything else you want to add?
When researching the idea, and devising an implementation strategy, we looked at the Netherlands’ coffee shop culture and took some pointers. The quickly realized that friendly coexistence required tact and diplomacy, and so closed their doors during school lunchtimes. We decided to make a similar recommendation that some of our Responsible sPots sell our buds only after 8 pm, so that they can cater to families with young children during the day who might not want to be in an environment where cannabis is consumed. We think that’s important in helping more venues to come forward with a legal cannabis alternative, while still catering to their entire customer base. Long term, working together to find a way forward is the best option.
You can learn more about Responsible Pot at the website, and if you'd like to start selling their poducts in your cafe, bar, wellness centre or elsewhere then you can contact them here. All our stories about cannabis and Slovenia can be found here
*Of the CBD variety.
Strains of marijuana that are high in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) remain illegal in Slovenia, if widely tolerated, and although medical marijuana is allowed it remains highly regulated. One part of the marijuana market does seem to be growing in the open here is that for low THC high CBD (cannabidiol) strains, which can be found in a growing number of products and outlets. Still, if you’re looking for some natural calm in downtown Ljubljana then things are not so easy. A few health food stores and pharmacies stock CBD products, but specialists are hard to find.
Blink, and you'll miss it. Between Reformator and Optika, opposite the umbrella store
It was thus with great interest that I came across a small store almost hidden on Trubarjeva cesta, a hole in the wall place that from the outside gave no clear indication of what it was selling. This is Sena Flora, a venture that was started late last year by two brothers with the aim of selling top quality CBD products online and in person. Always on the lookout for a story, I came away with the following…
What products do you sell, what are the ranges of CBD content, and how are each aimed at different users?
Currently we are selling CBD flowers (CBD <10%), CBD hash (CBD <20%), CBD crème, CBD chocolate, CBD oil 3% / 5% / 10%, CBD oil for pets, CBD paste 20% / 30%, and CBD crystals.
Our flowers and hash are aroma products. Their concentration of CBD is much higher than in regular strains, while the content of THC is in line with the legally allowed limit. People who buy it are amazed by the incredible smell. These products are all grown absolutely organic and without the use of pesticides.
CBD oil and paste is usually bought by people who are looking for a very effective supplement that supports the balance of their inner body. CBD has a multitude of positive effects according to a great number of medical studies.
Among customers who complain about skin related issues our CBD crème is definitely the top seller.
We also have a specific line of CBD oil for pets that ensures our doggies feel happy and peaceful.
Some of the products from the online store
Overall, what are the main benefits of CBD?
During research into the cannabinoids found in plants scientists discovered the human endocannabinoid system. This system is broadly spread throughout the human body and works in cooperation with a multitude of organs. So when cannabinoids are consumed they unfold effects in all those areas of the body. According to studies, this is also the reason why so many different health-related issues could be treated with CBD. Studies published in The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology noted CBD’s capability of relieving pain and reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. The authors also point out a number of other highly interesting effects: alleviation of cancer-related symptoms, reduction of acne, neuroprotection and benefits for heart health.
It is important to know, though, that CBD is still seen as a supplementary product in the EU. Therefore, CBD is not a substitute for the medical treatment of health related issues.
Are there any articles or books you’d recommend if people want to learn more about CBD?
A book we recommend is CBD - A Patient's Guide to Medicinal Cannabis. Healing without the High by Leonard Leinow et al. It is the most comprehensive publication on the science and therapeutic use of cannabinoids yet produced. It extensively covers the science of cannabinoid chemistry and the endocannabinoid system, and is supported by more than four hundred peer-reviewed research articles.
He really is a doctor
Are you the first store like this in Ljubljana?
We opened in November 2018 and are the first store of this kind in the city. What makes us unique is that we have a doctor inside our store – myself – who has spent a huge amount of time on the study of CBD and cannabinoids in general. I haven’t heard of any other cannabis store where that’s the case. People love that they can get professional advice related to CBD and do not have to rely on untrustworthy brochures or promotional material. The depth of his knowledge leaves a strong impression.
You’re a doctor and your brother is an economist and jurist, this seems like the ideal combination for such a store. How have your backgrounds informed your work here, and what new skills have you had to learn?
We certainly have to learn new skills every day. Every customer is different and has specific needs that we try to meet. Therefore, our priority is that each customer gets the most professional advice and, in the end, knows what product suits him or her best.
The way the store with looks, with the buds and hash on display, do you get any trouble from the police? Or confused shoppers?
There are many shoppers who cannot believe what we are selling and are completely surprised. Funnily enough, those usually become the most content customers. We haven’t had any trouble regarding the police, since our products fulfill all the legal requirements. The customers range from students to doctors, and is completely mixed. One day a policeman even came into our store to buy something, telling us that his mother is a complete fan of our CBD drops and crème.
Do you use any of the products?
Yes, I am using CBD drops once in the morning and once in the evening. It has a positive effect on my metabolism and they let me get a perfect sleep.
If someone is new to the world of CBD, which item do you recommend?
CBD oil is certainly the most universal product, since it can be used by everyone. Besides I must recommend our CBD crème, too. Since it is completely organic you can be sure that the skin absorbs only natural substances, all coming from the fruitful earth in Slovenia.
You also have an online store – do you ship all over Slovenia?
Yes, our online store ships all over Slovenia, Croatia and Austria.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Our mission is to provide people with high-quality CBD Flowers and a wide variety of other products, all derived from Cannabis. Come visit us at Trubarjeva cesta 18, Ljubljana! We are looking forward to seeing you!
STA, 14 July 2018 - Following long prison sentences issued by the Koper court to seven members of the Cobra drug trafficking ring in May, the Ljubljana District Court has handed sentences to seven more members of the Ljubljana section of the ring.
STA, 18 May 2018 - The non-parliamentary Pirate Party (Piratska stranka) will try its luck in the general election for the second time. Polls place the marijuana legalisation advocates well below the 4% threshold, but there are also signs of a positive trend in the wake of the first round of public debates.
The heated tables at Dakarti were finally taken inside on Friday, as sure a sign as any that the weather has changed for the better, so take a look at some of the events and happenings on around town over the next seven days, secure in the knowledge that some of most interesting things in Ljubljana remain hidden from the casual observer, waiting to be found….