If you’ve never seen the hidden gem of Europe – Slovenia – then you’re definitely missing out and I would highly recommend you go. Nonetheless, not only is it beautiful and full of culture, it also has a secret cannabis shop right in the capital city of Ljubljana. During my many travels there I have been blown away by the surprises that are found if only you look. Whilst THC is illegal, this secret cannabis bar happily sells you whatever you want and, to make things better, it’s homegrown.
Of course to not shine too much of an unhelpful light on the place I will leave it unnamed, but I still want to give it all the praise it deserves and to highlight that perhaps these places should exist all over the world. Welcome to the secret cannabis shop of Slovenia.
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The Forgotten Nations
Europe is a large continent, and contains a great deal of nations. If you’re not from there, then it’s very easy to forget about some of these many beautiful countries. There were around 710 million tourist visits to Europe in 2018, but a lot of these favour specific places. Many publications will focus on only the major nations, and less on the smaller ones. This is largely due to the wealthy history of the place, and the past empirical powers. For instance, there’s a reason why France and Paris are visited far more than Latvia. It wouldn’t be fair to suggest that this is because of beauty when – in reality – most of the smaller, lesser known nations have yet to be destroyed by tourism. It’s this obsession with certain countries in Europe that is unfortunate because, as some of you will know, sometimes the best places are the quieter ones. World Of Wanderlust writes:
“As one of the most sought after holiday destinations the world over, Europe has so much to offer travellers. From drinking a pint of beer at the infamous Oktoberfest in Munich, to biting into a flaky croissant in Saint Germain as the daily life of Paris passes you by, this is Europe in all of its glory! And if you’re planning a visit to the continent, these are the most visited countries in Europe to help you plan your own adventure.”
This is a great example of how publications feed off archetypal views on Europe, without much interest in thinking outside of the box. There is no doubt that the top 10 most visited countries in Europe are incredible places, but how about letting the other ones have a look in? Such as Slovenia. The Beach, a film starring Leonardo Di Caprio, is all about a guy searching for a secret beach. The moment everyone starts finding out about it, it loses its novelty as a special place. This is a great metaphor. Perhaps Slovenia is actually benefiting from remaining secretive. Although there’s no doubt that more people are finding out about this beautiful country. Let’s see how it differs in tourist levels from the top 10 most-visited countries in Europe:
- France: 89 million visitors per year
- Spain: 83 million visitors per year
- Italy: 62 million visitors per year
- Turkey: 46 million visitors per year
- Germany: 39 million visitors per year
- UK: 36 million visitors per year
- Austria: 31 million visitors per year
- Greece: 30 million visitors per year
- Russia: 25 million visitors per year
- Portugal: 23 million visitors per year
- Slovenia: 6 million visitors per year
In recent years, Slovenia’s tourist levels have increased magnificently. In fact, there was a 31% increase in 2021. This is much because of how beautiful it is.
Slovenia is a small country that is squished between Austria, Hungary and Croatia. It is land bound, but isn’t a far drive from the sea and has some quite remarkable lakes, such as Lake Bled and Bohinj. The nation covers around 20,000 square km and has a modest population of 2 million. It was once part of the Ottoman Empire and Yugoslavia, which consisted of Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia. However, it became an independent nation in 1991.
The capital city of Slovenia is often referred to as a hidden gem, and for how much longer it’s hidden I don’t know. However, it’s becoming a far more common interrail stop for those 18 year olds who decide to tour Europe by train. The city is small and stunning. You can walk around the whole thing in what feels like half an hour. It feels as if the cafe culture of Paris and the canals of Venice made love, and was then sprinkled with a bit of Russian greenery. It almost feels like a utopian city. And the cleanliness is astounding. Adventure Filled Life writes:
“This lovely green capital, populated by 300.000 people will take care of that European feeling you have been craving for. Walk-able, charming, and environmentally friendly – you will fall in love with the city after your first stroll along the river. Along the way, you can stop for a coffee at one of the many riverside cafes in Ljubljana.”
My Time in Ljubljana
My father’s partner is from this city, so I often go there. As I was strolling along the many cobbled streets, during my travels, I found myself at one of the many CBD shops. There are multiple of these smart shops in Ljubljana and they aren’t hard to find. What I found personally interesting about them, however, is that they sold CBD cannabis buds. This might sound expected, but for someone who comes from the UK where CBD flowers are illegal, it was a bit of a surprise. In the UK, CBD is illegal but CBD cannabis buds are not. This is just one of many idiotic cannabis laws from my home nation. In Slovenia, however, they allow for any CBD product to be sold at these specific shops. That’s not to say that THC cannabis is legal, it’s not.
“Production, import, use, possession and sale of cannabis for recreational use are prohibited by law. While cannabis remains illegal in Slovenia, the medical cannabis community has been growing. The Ministry of Health produced draft legislation that would allow a regulated medical cannabis programme”
In recent years, the use of personal amounts of cannabis is now no longer illegal in Slovenia. Instead, it is decriminalised and can be considered a misdemeanour. You can pay a small fine of around 50 euros if you’re found to be using cannabis. Because of this, I didn’t really have much hope of finding much cannabis in Slovenia. My assumption was that the CBD market was growing, and that was about it. However, as I began speaking to the CBD shopkeeper and asked him some questions about THC, he quickly pointed down the road. His English was great – as many Slovenians’ are – and he continued to tell me that there was a bar down the road that sold cannabis behind the counter. He didn’t even seem nervous to tell me, it felt like it was common knowledge.
Of course, without much of a pause, I made my way to the bar and stepped inside. It was a very cool and hipster looking place and, being from East London, I felt right at home. The Secret Slovenian writes about it:
“It is not uncommon for a smell of cannabis… to come out of this lively terrace. The small street (Rimska cesta) in which the… bar is located is nice. The bars near the river are nicer than this bar in Ljubljana but if you want to see what cool Slovenians and some hipsters are like, this is the place to go”
I ordered a beer and asked if they sold any *insert weird and awkward tap on the nose here*. The barman looked back at me and smiled. He asked how much I wanted and I said 20 euros worth and within about 5 minutes I had a bag of cannabis in my pocket and a freshly poured beer. It didn’t feel anywhere near as shady as I thought it would. By the way, the weed was homegrown and I was a big fan. Not too strong, but a good body high. Now I’ll know exactly where to go next time I’m in Slovenia’s capital.
The idea of a secret cannabis bar in Slovenia is exactly as cool as it sounds. However, it was far less discreet and shady as I perhaps would have assumed. Instead, it’s full of friendly staff and a chill atmosphere – as it should be. Why should cannabis have to be sold in any other way? If you’re interested in visiting this place then don’t hesitate to contact us for the name of it and directions. We wanted to allow it to keep its anonymity.
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