The small country of Montenegro is quickly becoming a popular destination for many European tourists. Despite its tiny size, Montenegro can surprise anyone with its sun-drenched beaches, the continent’s largest canyon and impressive mountain resorts. But what about cannabis in Montenegro?
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If you’re a tourist who plans to visit Montenegro’s Lake Skadar or one of its other famous destinations, you may be wondering if you would get into trouble for consuming cannabis on your vacation. So, what is the legal situation of cannabis in Montenegro? Read on to find out.
Drug laws in Montenegro
You will probably be surprised to learn that drug use, drug possession and the cultivation of drugs for personal use are considered misdemeanours in Montenegro. These offences are punishable by fines between €30 to €2,000 that may be replaced with up to 30 days of imprisonment.
The country’s current legislation doesn’t make a distinction between different types of drugs when it comes to personal possession, and it also doesn’t take into account the offender’s addiction or recidivism, although repeat offenders may receive larger fines, according to the country’s general sentencing rules.
The production of drugs and possession of drugs with the intent to supply is punishable by two to 10 years of imprisonment. If the drugs are imported, the sentence can be extended to two to 12 years of imprisonment.
Related: Penalties for Cannabis Use, Possession and Supply in Europe — Part 1
If the offender is part of an organised crime group, if a vulnerable person is involved in the drug trade, if the drugs are trafficked in a designated location or if the offender is a public official abusing his or her power, the sentence is increased to three to 15 years of imprisonment.
Enabling drug use is a criminal offence that’s prosecuted in a lower court and can be punished with prison sentences of six months to five years. This sentence can sometimes be substituted by probation. What’s interesting here is that the language used to describe the crime of ‘enabling drug use’ makes sharing a spliff a criminal offence, so that’s something tourists might want to be aware of.
Drug offenders may receive mandatory treatment sentences if they were medically diagnosed as addicts and present a risk of committing a crime in their future.
The current legal framework for drug supply doesn’t impose different punishments according to the type of drug involved, so cannabis dealers in Montenegro face the same punishments as those who traffick hard drugs, such as cocaine or heroin.
Cannabis laws in Montenegro
Montenegro’s laws do not differentiate between types of drugs, so the same rules apply for all illegal drugs. However, law enforcement agents and lower court judges in Montenegro tend to be more lenient with cannabis users than they are with hard drug users.
As a result, most fines for cannabis use do not exceed €1,000, and they are only rarely replaced with imprisonment sentences of up to 30 days.
Enabling drug use is considered a felony, not a misdemeanour, so cannabis users who share their weed in Montenegro may get into more trouble than they bargained for. Again, a lower court judge may be more forgiving towards someone who shared a spliff, but the process still implies getting a criminal record with all that’s involved — pictures, fingerprints, etc. — and possibly spending a night in jail.
But make no mistake, cannabis supply charges are not to be taken lightly. Montenegro’s law enforcement agents are constantly on the lookout for cannabis dealers, so carrying cannabis around is not a good idea.
Montenegro is located right next to Albania, a country that’s commonly thought of as Europe’s largest cannabis producer. Drug smugglers try to move large quantities of cannabis through Montenegro on their way toward other European countries, so the local law enforcement agencies make huge efforts to catch marijuana traffickers.
Medical cannabis in Montenegro
At the moment, Montenegro doesn’t have a medical cannabis program. Back in 2014, the country’s lawmakers refused to legalise cannabis for medical use, arguing that there are not enough studies to back cannabis as medicine.
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Supporters of the legal initiative brought forth scientific studies that showed how cannabis medicine could help patients suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) and AIDS, but to no avail. The Montenegrin ministers refused to sign the initiative despite the fact that the country’s Health Minister at the time, Miodrag Radunovic, said he would support the use of cannabis medicine for the reduction of pain associated with these conditions.
Despite the fact that multiple European countries have approved the use of cannabis medicine since 2014, Montenegro’s lawmakers did not revisit this matter since.
Hemp in Montenegro
Montenegro has optimal conditions for the outdoor cultivation of industrial hemp. But, at the moment, hemp cultivation is allowed only for fibre and food, and it’s prohibited for other uses. This didn’t discourage Eviana Health Corporation, a Canadian healthcare products maker, to invest in the region and open a cannabidiol (CBD) extraction facility.
CBD oil in Montenegro
However, it’s worth mentioning that using CBD is a misdemeanour and not a felony as long as the user doesn’t share it with other people.
The future of cannabis in Montenegro
The future of cannabis in Montenegro can only go upwards from here. At the moment, the country prohibits hemp cultivation but allows CBD production, so it would be a good idea to allow local farmers to cultivate the raw material used in the extraction process.
And the country doesn’t have a medical cannabis program, which means that patients suffering from chronic pain, AIDS, MS, cancer and other conditions cannot access the medicine that could improve their day-to-day lives.
Related: Domestic Cultivation is the Next Step for European Cannabis
Cannabis legalisation is not very popular in the small country, and it probably won’t be for a while. Seeing how the country’s lawmakers wouldn’t approve a medical cannabis initiative, the chances of them legalising marijuana are slim to inexistent.