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Croatia cracks down on cannabis

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Friday, November 10, 2006

Pot smokers in Croatia face possible three-year minimum jail terms under harsh new laws, which have recently replaced ultra-tolerant Dutch style policies.

“People caught with just one joint are risking from a minimum three years to a maximum of 15 years in jail,” Split club promoter Marcella Zanki told Skrufff.

“Judges still have some leeway to impose less harsh punishments such as putting somebody into rehab, but at the same time they’re now able to treat a person with one spliff as a big time heavy drug dealer,” she warned.

Britain’s Foreign Office website specifically warns that travellers violating Croatian laws risk jail sentences ‘served in a local prison’, while a recent report by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) spoke of inhuman living conditions in prisons across the country. The OSCE report said many prisons lacked basic facilities and said conditions were made worse by the system’s emphasis on ‘retribution rather then re-socialisation.’

The British government website continues to warn of continuing danger from unexploded land mines in ‘isolated areas in the mountains and countryside’, though Marcella stressed Split and most of Croatia is extremely safe with local police also generally fair.

“People here are concerned about these new cannabis laws, though you see virtually nothing mentioned about them in the media,” she said. “People coming here should definitely be careful and stay well away from drugs,” she advised.