Some European countries are getting rather open with their cannabis policies, some European countries are not. Slovenia fits more into the latter, albeit with some interesting laws that’ll make you scratch your head, and some definite possibility for changing laws in the near future.
Possession of cannabis is illegal in Slovenia. Personal use amounts have been decriminalized with the Production and Trade in Illicit Drugs Act calling it a small quantity for individual use, or a small quantity for medical use. Under Article 33 of the aforementioned act, possession is considered a minor offense, meaning offenders likely will pay a fine up to about €200, but won’t see jail time.
Punishments are more lenient if the offender agrees to enter a treatment program. To be clear, this is more of a decriminalization and less of a personal use right. Being caught with a small amount does not get a person out of punishment, but the punishment is minimal and generally won’t include jail time.
Sale and supply crimes are illegal as well. Slovenia’s Criminal Code of 2008 makes the following distinction:
- Manufacturing & trafficking – this includes cultivation, purchase with intent to sell, and selling.
- Facilitating the consumption of illicit drugs – Offering others cannabis for use.
Those caught breaking manufacturing and trafficking laws can expect prison sentences of 1-15 years depending on the circumstances of the crime, and who was involved, with longer prison sentences if the crimes involved vulnerable populations. Those caught breaking the laws for facilitating use can expect 6mo-12years in prison depending on the circumstances, whether a vulnerable party was involved, and if the offender abused their place of authority.
Growing cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes is technically illegal in Slovenia, however, hemp laws say otherwise.
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What about hemp?
Slovenia goes by EU regulation when it comes to growing industrial hemp. Plants with .2% THC or less can be grown without a license in home or outside, so long as they don’t take up more than .1 hectare of land. Farmers may grow cannabis on larger pieces of land, but must obtain a license from the government in order to do so. While this actually gives a huge amount of personal use rights to residents in terms of cultivating for themselves, it is still illegal to grow plants with a higher quantity of THC than .2%.
Are CBD and medical cannabis legal?
Hemp oil and CBD are both legal with the stipulation of containing .2% THC or less. Having said that, medical cannabis as a plant is not legal, but drugs made from extracted cannabinoids like Sativex, and synthetic cannabinoids like Marinol, are legal. Sativex is an interesting choice, of course, as it contains higher levels of THC. Patients can receive prescriptions for these medications from their doctor. Many people in the country opt to self-medicate with CBD and other related oils since the medical system isn’t offering many cannabis-related options.
The change in legislation that opened the door for medical use came in 2013 when cannabinoids themselves were reclassified as Class 2 drugs, meaning they can be used medicinally, even though the actual flower cannot. An interesting statistic according to Prohibition Partners is that “Cannabis is regularly or occasionally used by 15 percent of the Slovenian population and it’s estimated that 30,000 citizens self-medicate using cannabis extracts.” All this considering Slovenia only has two million residents.
So, to sum it up: medicinal cannabis is legal, but only preparations made from cannabinoids, and not the plant itself, and nothing having more than .2% THC unless the patient is prescribed a medication with a different amount. Growing cannabis medicinally or recreationally is illegal. However, industrial hemp is perfectly legal, and any adult is allowed to grow it, even in their own home.
Did you catch it?
If it wasn’t caught, there’s a glaring loophole here that’s good for the people. Going back to medical cannabis for a second, it’s illegal in terms of directly using the plant, and only legal for the cannabinoids extracted from it. It’s also still illegal to cultivate, or process cannabis for medical purposes, or to grow it recreationally, which means Slovenia is completely reliant on imported medicines.
However, according to the industrial hemp laws, any adult can grow hemp, inside their house, or out. Hemp is a cornerstone of today’s medicinal cannabis market – whether it’s specifically grown for that purpose or not, and both the flowers and extracts account for a large percentage of the current global medical cannabis offerings. This means that any adult in Slovenia can legally possess hemp. And with decriminalization laws, they can also technically smoke it (at least without going to prison).
It could almost be looked at that the only stipulation in terms of what is allowable for use with cannabis plants relates to THC amount, but if this were really the case, why would it be illegal to authorize the sale of hemp flowers for medicinal use? It’s a system that makes very little sense. Doctors can’t prescribe hemp flowers for medicinal use, but decriminalization laws and hemp grow laws indicate citizens can use a loophole to grow their own hemp for their own use, whatever it may be.
Generally, if a person is going to go through the process of growing a personal cannabis plant, they’re probably intending to smoke it too. So, people can grow their own medicinal cannabis flowers under the name of hemp, but they can’t access said flowers from their official health program under the name of medicine.
Will legalization come?
In early 2018, a bill was introduced by a group of legislators from the senior coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) to legalize cannabis, but it didn’t pass. With the Modern Centre Party in power, and being generally more liberal toward cannabis, there are different options being considered from expanding the medicinal cannabis offering to include actual flowers, to a full legalization. The Social Democratic party (SD) has also been promoting legalization for several years, and have submit their own proposals for legalization for medical growing, and the use of actual cannabis buds rather than extracts.
This is a weird time in life because of the coronavirus pandemic, and a global reaction that essentially shut down a lot of the functioning of the world. In doing so, many businesses have been bankrupted, and others forced to change their plans, or push their schedules back in the year. With so much upheaval in local governments around the world, things like cannabis regulation measures often take a back seat to more pressing matters. Point being that right now is a slow time for progress in cannabis legalization almost anywhere.
But this isn’t to say the world has stopped moving altogether, or that business won’t slowly return to normal. Or that new legislation isn’t being worked on. Slovenia might not stand out as one of the more liberal or more quickly moving countries when it comes to cannabis legalization, but somehow I get the impression, that legalization really isn’t that far away. And for now, though it won’t get citizens a nice THC buzz, they can use the hemp loophole to grow their own low-THC cannabis.
Current Research on Effect Specific Uses of Cannabis
New research regarding the benefits of cannabis and its main properties of CBD and THC continues to emerge as more countries and states legalize the medical and recreational use of marijuana. Also, because of legalization, the business potential of the cannabis industry continues to grow. Cannabis companies can now distribute to a broader range of people. However, there is more to cannabis than different strains (Indica or Sativa) or the ratio of CBD to THC. Another essential cannabinoid is terpenes, and they play a critical role in the effectiveness of cannabis.
A Perfect High
As the cannabis industry continues to enter the mainstream sphere, it must determine how to market to the mass consumer who expects their cannabis product to be consistent in quality and give off the desired effect. Consumers search for a product that provides a more tailored experience and a more controlled high. Like how the consumer can pick their alcohol to achieve desired effects, cannabis companies and scientists research ways to deliver a custom product. Before a consumer buys a product, they need to know if the product’s cost matches the quality of the experience.
THC causes impairment, slower reaction time, and difficulty performing simple tasks. Consumers want to control their level of buzz. Just like there is a wide variety of alcohol, each with its flavors, and proof, that allows a consumer to have their own unique experience. Cannabis companies strive to achieve a range of products that can mimic the desired effect, from calming to energetic or happy. Consumers also want to test how their body responds to these products to make the most informed decision about what is right for their needs and works best for them.
Ultimately, scientists continue to learn about the importance of terpenes and CBD to modify THC’s effects. The largest cannabis companies and their teams of scientists keep their research under wraps for competitive reasons. Every company wants to be the first to produce a controlled, tailored product. Whoever discovers this first will have an advantage within the cannabis industry.
The Entourage Effect
Cannabis companies and scientists ultimately want to achieve a way to tame THC, a term first introduced by scientist Ethan Russo in 2011. They estimate the cannabis industry will grow as large as the alcohol industry and generate billions of dollars in revenue a year, but only if they can manufacture a product that consistently delivers. In 1998, scientists Raphael Mechoulam and Shimon Ben-Shabat discovered the entourage effect, or the combination of THC, the psychoactive component, CBD (cannabidiol), an active non-psychoactive ingredient, and terpenes, the flavor and taste profile of each strain. All three elements have a unique effect on the body, depending on each ingredient’s ratio and combination.
However, with just the cannabis plant, it is hard to replicate the same feeling and its effects on the body since each plant, grown from different marijuana seeds, has its unique properties. Scientists continue to try and isolate these components to learn better ways to use them as a controlled substance. Also known as whole plant synergy, the main ingredients THC, CBD, terpenes, and other cannabinoids are also essential to unlock the health benefits of cannabis and how to use each ingredient to treat chronic pain and diseases better.
Evidence shows that cannabinoids boost other cannabinoids; for example, THC enhances CBD’s medicinal properties, while CBD modifies and controls the effects of Eagle Moon High THC Seeds, producing a more controlled high. Each cannabinoid is more effective together, which is why THC alone or CBD only products derived from hemp are less potent and effective. There are also other minor cannabinoids at play, such as CBG or CBN, that scientists continue to research. Emerging research also suggests the possibility of two different types of entourage effects: Intra-entourage refers to the interactions of cannabinoids and terpenes and inter-entourage, which relates to the interactions between terpenes to terpenes and cannabinoids to cannabinoids. However, research slowly begins to unearth the role terpenes play in the entourage effect and its full potential.
Terpenes and Future Potential
Cannabis consumers are more sophisticated than society’s perpetuated stereotype of the stoner or hippie. Consumers want to know about the benefits and properties of cannabis, such as Indica versus Sativa, and THC versus CBD. While they may be more familiar with these terms, terpenes are a newly discussed topic amongst cannabis circles, and consumers and scientists alike want to unlock terpene’s full potential. Scientists describe terpenes as the flavor profile in all plants but specifically provide each cannabis strain with its taste and smell.
Researchers today understand that the properties of terpenes go beyond just flavor, smell, and stimulating moods, but modulating brain activity that can have potential health benefits. CBD and THC have higher potency together, and the same is true that terpenes, along with other cannabinoids, work better together and have a more substantial impact. Terpenes and cannabinoids can increase blood flow, enhance motor and sensory functions, and eliminate respiratory bacteria that cause MRSA. The terpenes and cannabinoid attribute to the effectiveness of marijuana or cannabis products in the treatment of chronic pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, and even fungal and bacterial infections.
Companies define the use of cannabis for medicinal or holistic reasons, by the strain or CBD to THC ratio. However, new research suggests that the terpene profile may be one of the most critical elements in the effectiveness of the strain and its intended use. As the cannabis industry and scientists compete to unlock the potential of terpenes and its connection to THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids, consumers will gain access to a marijuana experience unlike anything before.
Crystal Wilson. Crystal has been closely studying the cannabis industry trends for quite some time. Intrigued by the booming growth of this sector, she takes interest in penning down her views providing quality insight on current marijuana trends, particularly medical cannabis.
Jay-Z announces new line of cannabis products dubbed Monogram
Rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z is launching his own cannabis brand in partnership with Caliva, the California-based weed company that hired the star as its chief brand strategist last year.
Named Monogram, Jay-Z’s line of marijuana products launched its website and social media accounts on Friday.
“Monogram marks a new chapter in cannabis defined by dignity, care and consistency. It is a collective effort to bring you the best, and a humble pursuit to discover what the best truly means,” Monogram’s website highlights.
No further information on the specific products that will be sold under the Monogram brand has been released yet.
However, according to the website, the flower used in Monogram’s products is grown in small batches, with a board of “cannabis experts” tasked with grading and hand-selecting each flower that goes into the line.
The New York rapper joined Caliva in 2019 as a brand strategist, which entailed overseeing the creative direction of the company. Furthermore, Jay was focused on Caliva’s social equity efforts as he aimed to increase economic participation of people disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition in the newly legal industry.
As for when consumers can expect to try Jay-Z new products, a spokesperson told the New York Daily News Monogram still hasn’t set its dispensary release schedule. The line will “definitely be available across all of California,” according to the spokesperson.
In other news, basketball star Shawn Kemp who played for the Seattle SuperSonics is also showing his love of pot. Kemp is set to open Seattle’s first black-owned marijuana dispensary this Friday. The Sonics legend named his dispensary Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis and is hoping to serve as a model for others in the black community who might be interested in foraying into the legal marijuana business in the area.
“I’m looking forward to welcoming Sonics fans on a regular basis, starting with opening day. I hope that Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis will be an inspiration for people to get involved with the legal cannabis industry, especially people of color,” the Reign Man said in a press release.
Analysis: Legal weed in Texas would generate over $500 million in tax revenue per year
Legalizing marijuana in Texas could generate over half a billion dollars in tax revenue per year and create more than 40,000 new jobs, according to the results of a report released by Vicente Sederberg LLP earlier this month.
Legal cannabis sales in Texas would reach about $2.7 billion annually based on the fact that there are more than 1.5 million residents over the age of 21 that consume pot on a monthly basis, the analysis calculated.
The estimated tax revenue was calculated under the assumption Texas would tax marijuana sales at the same rate as Colorado at 20.6%. This would amount to $1.1 billion in taxes per biennium, while Texas could collect an additional $10 million per year through the issuing of marijuana business licenses.
The report notes Colorado has raised nearly $13 million on average per year just from license and application fees. Furthermore, the report indicated that current taxpayer dollars that go towards marijuana arrests and prosecutions amount to $311 million per year – money that Texas would save should it legalize pot.
“States across the country are seeing the benefits of legalizing and regulating cannabis. It is inspiring lawmakers in prohibition states to reexamine the efficacy and costs of their current policies and take a closer look at the alternatives,” said Shawn Hauser, a partner at Vicente Sederberg.
“The goal of this report is to provide a snapshot of the economic benefits Texas would experience if it started treating cannabis more like alcohol for adults 21 years of age and older,” he commented on the new report.
Aside from the tax revenue that legal weed in Texas could generate, the report highlighted marijuana’s job creation potential. An estimated 20,000 to 40,000 new jobs would be available in the newly legal industry, with tens of thousands of additional indirect positions, the report estimated.
Hauser also pointed out the added economic benefits of legalization in Texas given current uncertainties provoked by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Texas is leaving an enormous amount of money on the table by keeping cannabis illegal,” according to him.
Texas was once known for having the strictest drug laws in the U.S., but the state has softened its stance on cannabis in recent years. A very limited medical marijuana program was established in 2015, while, more recently, cannabis possession arrests in the state have been significantly declining after hemp became legal.
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