Cannabis and Hemp developments in Poland have recently been a popular subject. Poland has a long history of cannabis and hemp use, but during the 20th century, cannabis production was thwarted by blanket drug-related legislation.
Marijuana use in Poland continued to grow in favor after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. According to a population survey from 2010, 17.1 percent of young adults aged 15 to 35 used cannabis during the year. Currently, only the use and possession of medical marijuana is legal, not adult-use cannabis.
Poland’s above-average penchant for marijuana has propelled them to become one of the major developing European markets. Due to an increasingly progressive stance on hemp and medical marijuana, Polish hemp-derived retailers can grow and sell smokes, tinctures, topicals, edibles, and more CBD products to residents and visitors.
Major producers from across the world are also showing great interest in staking their claim in this quickly developing market.
History of Cannabis in Poland
Poland’s restrictions on cannabis began when the country was a signatory to the 1925 International Opium Convention along with many other world superpowers. The agreement was an attempt to impose global restrictions on drugs including cannabis. The main purpose of the agreement was to reduce opium production, primarily in East Asia. In 1951, the People’s Republic of Poland declared cannabis a narcotic and made its production explicitly illegal. Possession and use became prohibited in 1997.
Before marijuana decriminalization, a baggie of weed could land you three years in jail. These archaic laws were changed in 2011 when Polish lawmakers passed legislation that allowed prosecutors to drop cases for possession of small quantities of cannabis. Prosecutors could only choose to drop the cases if it is a first offense or if the person has a drug dependence issue. Punishments for distribution, however, were raised from 10 to 12 years in prison.
Consistent support from Polish lawmakers and advocates led to the passing of a landmark law allowing medical cannabis use in 2017. The law permitted patients with debilitating and intractable illnesses to receive cannabis-derived drugs with a doctor’s approval. Medical cannabis sales didn’t begin until February 2019, however.
A lack of a domestic market restricted medical marijuana access to patients, due to the hefty cost of importation. Poland’s medical cannabis law prohibits domestic cannabis cultivation of any kind.
For now, the majority of cannabis production occurs abroad. Medical patients and farmers are not permitted to grow cannabis plants domestically for personal or commercial purposes. Overseas producers are gaining steam in this Central European nation.
In October 2018, Canada’s Aurora Cannabis was the first to receive a license for medical cannabis importation. Canopy Growth, another Canadian mega-producer, won approval from the Polish Ministry of Health to import cannabis flower into Poland.
Doctors and Accessibility
Polish residents don’t have a list of qualifying medical conditions to consult. It’s up to the doctor to determine if a patient can benefit from medical cannabis. Patients don’t have to receive approval from specialists, which can make it easier to obtain a prescription.
Despite the medical accessibility of marijuana, not everyone can afford to purchase the treatment. Polish pharmacists estimate that a gram of weed can go for 50 to 60 zloty ($13 to $16 USD), which translates to about 2000 zloty ($550 USD) a month. Cannabis and hemp in Poland is becoming a much more discussed topic as of late.
While Poland’s cannabis market may be in its infancy, its hemp market is developing rapidly. Polish law doesn’t place any restrictions on CBD or hemp use in the country. They do have potency limitations.
Hemp-derived CBD products must contain less than 0.2 percent THC. Visitors are able to freely purchase hemp-derived flower, tinctures, pre-rolls, edibles, and other wellness-related products from brick-and-mortar locations such as CBD shops or health food stores.
Future of Cannabis in Poland
Poland has a population of over 37.9 million people. An estimated 400,000 individuals have registered to become medical marijuana patients. In order to streamline the distribution process, pharmacists must take a course on properly dispensing medical cannabis. Pharmacies must also adhere to specific regulations, albeit, not every pharmacy offers the medication.
Many Polish lawmakers and advocates urge for full legalization, or at least domestic cultivation laws that would allow more access to cannabis and increase job growth. As right-wing lawmakers strengthen their hold of parliament, it’s unclear how the progression of cannabis culture and legislation will fare. Despite the resistance of those with conservative viewpoints, Poland continues to espouse some of the most progressive marijuana laws in Europe.
North America continues to lead in cannabis production and Poland has followed suit, especially in its hemp market. Hemp fields continue to expand as agricultural subsidies and bonuses for growing organic hemp incentivize farmers to make the leap and become hemp farmers.
Locally grown Polish hemp may strengthen the country’s rural economy and be a sign of better things to come for marijuana legalization.
Thank you for reading the cannabis and hemp developments in Poland. As you can see it is a work in progress and they are making strides.
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