Bulgaria as a country seems to be facing a lot of problems at the moment. Problems that the legalization of cannabis could help them with. Not only is Bulgaria the poorest country in the European Union, but it has the fastest shrinking population in the world. By 2050, their population is expected to drop by 22.5% from today’s levels in 2020. Now I’m not suggesting that making cannabis legal in Bulgaria would solve these problems, but fully embracing a new industry would do wonders for the country’s economy. Let’s explore where Bulgaria currently stands on cannabis.
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Weed Laws in Bulgaria
The use of high-risk drugs in Bulgaria (including cannabis) is punishable by a fine of between 2,000 and 5,000 BGN (1200 – 3000 USD at time of writing). If the quantity is deemed a small amount, such as one joint, this may be considered a minor offense. Minor offenses can be punishable by 1,000 BGN. Possession of larger amounts however can carry jail time, with up to 6 years in jail a possibility.
For drug trafficking (also including cannabis), this can carry between 2 – 8 years in jail in Bulgaria. If the circumstances permit (such as involving a minor), this can go up to 15 years jail time.
Attitudes Towards Cannabis
In the larger cities of Sofia, Plovdiv, and Varna, cannabis still isn’t all that common, when compared to other European nations. Or we should say, it’s not as noticeable. Cannabis is still the most widely used illicit drug in the country, with over 10% of the country’s adults using cannabis within the last 12 months. This trend has only been increasing over the last decade, with around 4.5% of adults using cannabis in 2007.
Hemp and Medical Cannabis in Bulgaria
Growing cannabis in Bulgaria is in a legal gray area. It’s legal for registered farmers that haven’t been convicted of crimes related to drugs to grow cannabis for industrial purposes. Cannabis for industrial purposes is classed as hemp containing less than 0.2% THC.
Where the gray area comes in though, is that THC is considered a narcotic. Any amount of THC is therefore technically illegal. Now I’m no agricultural scientist, but my understanding is that there will always be trace amounts of THC in hemp.
Explained – Weed in Slovenia
Perhaps making the gray area slightly less gray, a US-based company has received approval to sell its hemp derived CBD product, paving the way for a medical marijuana industry in Bulgaria. Legal cannabis in Bulgaria in raw form might be a fair way off, but this is a good first step for the country.