A few days ago, Lukáš Hurýsek, a well-known translator and author of texts on cannabis, sent me a message on Facebook about his new work. He started writing for the renowned site Leafly.com. My very first article on myths about cannabis in my country was very exciting for me and I am glad that I was able to translate it with his permission and publish it on the pages of the ROOTS magazine. It is more of information for foreign tourists, who often have misconceptions about well-being on the "drug" scene around the Vltava, but it will certainly be beneficial for Czech readers as well.
There are many mistakes about cannabis laws in European countries. The Czech Republic is a shining example of this: most foreign visitors believe that cannabis is legal in this small country in the heart of Europe. Unfortunately, it is not, at least not, as most international media say. Here are the five biggest myths that you should know before you light a straw in the Czech Republic.
Myth No. 1: In the Czech Republic, you can smoke cannabis in public
It is true that you can smoke cannabis outside, and thousands of people do so, this activity is as illegal as elsewhere in the world. Therefore, if you do so, you should avoid any contact with the police. If they catch you, you will most likely only be fined. On the other hand, a police officer may search you for illegal possession of large quantities of drugs. If you have more than 10 grams of dried sticks, it is already considered a crime, not an offense, which means you can face criminal proceedings.
The popularity of cannabis smoking in public is, rather than benevolence on the part of law enforcement officers, an expression of the rebel spirit of the Czechs, who have become accustomed to ignoring and defying police and state authorities during the 40 years of communist rule. In addition, especially in rural areas, local police either do not recognize the smell of burning cannabis or, in most cases, are not interested in any intervention, if only because they know that every second grandmother in the village grows a few plants and produces ointments and tinctures for the sick. from the local community.
In short, if you decide to light a fire outside in the Czech Republic, be inconspicuous enough to avoid direct contact with the police (and especially not to blow smoke directly into their faces) and you should be fine.
Myth No. 2: Prague is the new Amsterdam
It is true that in the capital you will find many places, bars, restaurants and clubs where you can buy different varieties of cannabis with a high content of THC, but in none of these businesses are these shops taking place legally. There are many coffee shops in Prague, but they definitely do not sell marijuana. Only coffee and desserts. Selling any product with a THC content higher than 0.3 % THC is simply illegal.
Myth No. 3: Czech drug laws are not generally repressive
Czech politicians and their advisers like to emphasize that the country is very liberal when it comes to drug laws and should serve as an example for the rest of the world. It can be agreed that these laws are more liberal than in many neighboring countries or many US states, however, growing more than five cannabis plants or holding more than 10 grams of dried canes is still considered a crime. Growing from one to five plants or holding up to 9.9 grams is an offense that can be punished by a fine of up to 15,000 crowns. Which is still quite repressive and especially not liberal. Another broken myth.
Myth # 4: Cannabis for medical purposes is legal and readily available
According to Czech legislation, medical cannabis has been legal for three years. Most international media point out how progressive the Czechs are in this regard. The sad and bitter reality, however, is that even today, cannabis is not practically available to patients. Its use is not reimbursed by health insurance companies and very few doctors and nurses have sufficient knowledge in this area. And those who have them must be willing to go through a very complicated bureaucratic process in order to prescribe cannabis at all. In addition, there is currently only one "thickening" variety available, which has a very high THC content and a very low CBD content, CBD-rich varieties are not available at all. In addition, patients under 18 years of age are not allowed to use medical cannabis and its products. Maybe lawmakers think kids aren't sick?
Myth No. 5: Czechs love this herb
Well, this isn't really a myth. Czechs love cannabis, the most home-grown variety, which explains why the Czech Republic maintains first place in the cannabis consumption rankings in Europe and even in the world. One of the most amazing things about this country is that the vast majority of Czechs, who do not need cannabis themselves, have nothing against people who like it.