Tourists sure like to go to museums. Almost anywhere in the world there are museums for one thing or another, often related to local history or landscape. Now, if you’re in Zagreb, you can include weed in museum activities, with Croatia’s new cannabis museum.
How cool is it that Zagreb houses Croatia’s first weed museum?! Travelers and locals should definitely check this place out. We’re an independent news publication focusing on cannabis and psychedelics stories. Keep up by signing up for the THC Weekly Newsletter. We’ve also got standout offers on cannabinoids, like HHC-O, Delta 8, Delta 9 THC, Delta-10 THC, THCO, THCV, THCP & HHC, which won’t kill your bank account. Head over to our “Best-of” lists to get these deals, and remember to enjoy responsibly!
What’s the deal?
In March 2022, the very first weed museum was opened in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Where was it built? Right across from the main police station, of course, where it takes its place with an array of other odd museums related to things like hangovers, and broken hearts. As the museum’s owner Tvrtko Kračun puts it, “The plant is present in the history of humanity in almost all civilizations and undoubtedly deserves a museum.”
The museum offers a guided tour through the plant’s history, as shown through exhibits, videos and posters. The two-floor museum is 400 m2, and includes pop culture references in the form of cannabis-themed music and movies. The museum covers 10,000 years of history, along with educational information about medical cannabis and industrial hemp, as well as recreational cannabis information and warnings about excessive consumption.
The upstairs of the museum features rooms dedicated to different functions, like recreational cannabis, or medical cannabis. Exhibits exist about water bongs; cultural high points in the history of weed, like Woodstock; and historical information, like how Napoleon brought the plant from Egypt to France in the 19th century.
An exhibit also exists showing how to cultivate the plant, complete with live plants, and growing paraphernalia like lights. Here, visitors can also study the specific plants that are permitted via the EU’s cannabis list, which have all been reported to both the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Museum visitors are offered tons of cannabis facts, and cannabis stories, along with quotes from famous celebrities and politicians. In the near future, they will also be able to participate in additional workshops, although what this will entail, has not been made clear.
Admission to the museum is free for employees of the interior, health and agriculture ministries, as these are the ministries related to cannabis regulation. And get this, the admission ticket itself is a joint wrap, which can be rolled up for a puff break, after you don’t need it anymore. As cannabis with up to .2% THC is legal for sale in Croatia, the museum offers an array of hemp and CBD products in the lobby, including infused drinks, sprays, and oils. Guests are required to sign a release form in the event that a product accidentally goes above the .2% THC limit.
This is not Kračun’s first delve into the world of weed. Kračun is also the owner of a chain of head shops called hemps.hr. The idea for the museum was a way that Kračun could expand on the idea, and get through to more people. The lobby in which patrons can buy hemp products is actually a hemps.hr store, which also acts as the general entrance to the museum.
Cannabis in Croatia
If the weed museum in Croatia gives the impression that Croatia is totally cool with recreational cannabis use, this assumption is incorrect. In Croatia, The Law on Combating Drugs Abuse of 2010, regulates the manufacture, trade, and possession of drugs in the country. Cannabis is illegal for recreational use according to that law. In 2012, Croatia did pass a bill to decriminalize the personal use of illicit substances, however, it never defined exactly what a ‘personal amount’ is. This law made these offenses misdemeanors, rather than criminal offenses.
In terms of a personal use law, this one is shabby at best, still requiring large fines from offenders, which can exceed €2,000. Other options include rehab programs, or community service. This is, indeed, a step up from the punishment of up-to-three years imprisonment for simple possession, which it was before the update. Still not as lax as most personal use laws that exist in the world, but certainly an improvement for the country.
Cultivation (even for personal use) was not included in this update, and remains illegal. Cultivation crimes, along with production crimes, can incur six months – five years in prison. Sales crimes can land a person in prison for 2-12 years. This sentence can increase to 15 years if children are involved, and up to 20 for organized crime.
Croatia does allow limited medical cannabis as of a 2015 law, which permits doctors to write prescriptions for cannabis medications. Individual patients cannot exceed .75mg of THC a month, so the market revolves solely around low-THC medications. The ban on personal cultivation is bypassed slightly here as of a 2019 amendment to the Law on Combatting Drug Abuse. The amendment doesn’t allow in-house growing for individuals, but does permit private institutions with the right licensing, to grow low-THC weed. This means the medical market is no longer solely an import market.
Does Croatia want legal recreational cannabis?
The trend these days is for countries to move closer and closer to recreational legalizations. Croatia is no different, though no law has made it through yet. In February of 2020, Mirela Holy, the president of the Social Democratic Party’s Green Development Council, introduced a recreational cannabis bill. The bill was also meant to legalize the commercial use of hemp. Holy pushed the bill on the strength of the economic value to the country.
In terms of whether the population of the country agrees, or if such a bill came out too soon in a country like Croatia, Holy pointed out, “When I started talking about it a few years ago, the reactions were terrible, but things have changed.” The bill didn’t make it through, but it does go to show there’s a trajectory. In nearly any location with a legalization measure, the measure that passed is generally not the first measure put forth.
Holy might have gotten slightly ahead of herself, but she also seems to be a voice of reason within a slow-reacting government. She wants hemp reinstated for its previous industrial uses, including the manufacture of things like paper, clothing, and fuel. As the economic aspect of the cannabis plant is the impetus for many legalizations worldwide, what Holy is pushing for, should be realized soon enough.
Holy has been supporting hemp reform for years, partly based on the idea of improving environmental regulation. She previously acted as Minister for Environment under Zoran Milanovic’s government, from 2011-2012. As a seasoned politician, she likely understands it’s a long-winded battle with many moving pieces. Her bill was probably meant as a way to get a conversation started, with no immediate expectation of passage. This is still important in the general progression, as every conversation needs to start somewhere.
If nothing else, Holy’s bill did get things going in terms of putting this idea in peoples’ heads. It is quite a leap to go from a semi-decriminalization measure that still attaches stiff penalties, to an overall legalization measure, overnight. But at least now, people are talking about the possibility.
If you happen to go to Croatia, and you’re a pot fan, definitely take some time to check this place out. Not only is the first weed museum in Croatia an interesting place to learn about cannabis and its many functions, (and to try some interesting products), but it also helps support a greater movement to educate about the plant, and get it legalized for more uses. Perhaps the existence of this museum is another indication that Croatia is heading for some intense cannabis reform in the near future.
If you can’t make it to the weed museum, try to stop by a local hemps.hr store. Pick yourself up some awesome products, while also promoting the legal cannabis industry in Croatia.
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