The land of paprika, thermal baths, and a declining democracy. Hungary is the only EU nation to not be declared a full democracy by Freedom House (a US government-funded non-profit group). So it should come as no surprise to you that marijuana is not legal in Hungary. Weed is completely illegal to purchase, sell, and use. While both recreational and medicinal cannabis use is illegal, Hungary has been seeing a push for medical legalization.
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The Current Situation
There is no real medicinal cannabis set up as of yet, however, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Some aspects of the marijuana trade are still active such as the industrial hemp trade and CBD products with 0.2% THC or lower. Cannabis did have a historical role to play in Hungary, as in many other countries, but the laws surrounding the drug in the modern day are pretty strict.
Marijuana Laws in Hungary
The current laws when it comes to the sale, possession, and use of cannabis are quite strict. Weed is actually considered to be in the same group as drugs like heroin. This means you may not buy, sell, or possess cannabis without facing legal action. Punishment for the consumption of cannabis can be up to 15 years in prison, according to Daily News Hungary.
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As far as possession goes there is a chance that offenders will only be fined, however in recent years Hungary has taken a more hardline stance against drugs in general. The amount of cannabis deemed to not be for personal possession is anything above 1g of THC content. So if you have a half-ounce of some really potent weed, this could be considered as an intention to sell.
Hungary Medical Cannabis
Though medicinal cannabis is not legal in Hungary, there are a couple of exemptions. For those who suffer from multiple sclerosis, cannabis treatment is available, but not really affordable. Treatment can cost up to several million forints (thousands of dollars). The only other similar treatment available is Marinol, a synthetic version of the plant. This medication has been used to treat AIDS patients with nausea and appetite loss.
Hungary Wants Legal Medical Marijuana
A poll from 2019 found that 61% of Hungarians support legalizing marijuana for medical use. A further 22% were undecided, while only 17% were against. From the same poll, the following trends were present:
- 21% of pro-government voters were against legalizing for medical purposes
- people over 60 were the most supportive group, with 63% in favor
- the second most supportive group was youth, with 62% in favor
Marijuana History of Hungary
Now onto the history of cannabis in Hungary. Cannabis grows wild in a lot of the countryside, which of course means it used to be a large part of local culture. Unfortunately, in the 20th century, the anti-drug craze came to Hungary and rendered cannabis illegal. It is thought that cannabis has been growing wild in the Hungarian countryside since the first millennium. The pollen count increased over the next few thousand years, especially in bogs where the plant was grown for its fibrous properties and made into hemp.
What the Future Holds
Due to the conservative nature of the Hungarian government, it is unlikely that strict cannabis laws will change in the near future. It may take quite a few decades, but perhaps the younger, more liberal generations will one day open a dialogue about cannabis legalization. In the next five years though, the conversation about legal medical marijuana in Hungary is likely to continue. This would be the logical first step before Hungary might entertain the idea of legal recreational marijuana.
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