[co-authors: Martin Draebye Gantzhorn, Gundula Maria Kjaer]*

World Law Group member firms recently collaborated on a Global Cannabis Guide that provides a brief overview of laws and policies regarding the use of cannabis in various jurisdictions. It briefly outlines information on the most important legal issues, from relevant legislation and general information to special requirements and risks.

The guide does not claim to be comprehensive, and laws in this area are quickly evolving. In particular, it does not replace professional and detailed legal advice, as facts and circumstances vary on a case-by-case basis and country-specific regulations may change.

This chapter covers Slovenia. View the full guide.

SLOVENIA

I. Introduction

1. Identify the geographic scope and limits of your answers to the questions below.

Laws and policies regarding the use of cannabis in the Republic of Slovenia.

II. Legislation

2. Please provide links to applicable statutes and regulations.

Cannabis

Slovenian Production of and Trade in Illicit Drugs Act (ZPPPD) determines the conditions under which the production and trade in illicit drugs and the possession of illicit drugs are permitted.

Decree on the classification of illicit drugs, issued on the basis thereof, classifies Cannabis sativa L. (extracta, herba, resina) as a “Group II” illicit drug. Namely, this classification is in essence a reference to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, adopted by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly of March 20, 1961 (as amended in 1972 by a supplementary protocol), to which Slovenia is also a signatory.

Hemp

Decree on hemp production.

Rules on conditions for obtaining a permit for hemp and poppy cultivation.

Food & Cosmetics

Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 on novel foods.

Novel Food Catalogue.

Regulation (EC) 1223/2009 on cosmetic products.

A. Is there any pending legislation that could materially alter applicable statutes or regulations?

There have been several past attempts to regulate this area, but none of them were adopted by law-making bodies in the end.

However, the Ministry of Health is preparing an upgrade of regulations that will set clear rules for the production of Cannabis for medical purposes. This will enable the cultivation, processing and research of this plant in Slovenia. Political parties are in favor of change, but are more reluctant to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes.

B. Is there any proposed legislation that could materially alter applicable statutes or regulations?

No.

3. Are cannabis laws in your jurisdiction pretty well settled or are they constantly changing in material ways?

There is a legal vacuum in Slovenia with regard to cannabis law. However, in recent years, Slovenia has started to develop some cannabis laws (including personal-use decriminalization and the legalization of cannabinoid treatments) in order to create a profitable cultivation industry.

III. General information (e.g., governing bodies, licenses, import/export)

4. What governing body regulates/licenses or enforces activities that are allowed in your jurisdiction?

The Ministry of internal affairs, the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food; the Market Inspectorate; the Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary Sector and Plant Protection; the Chemical office; and the police.

5. What cannabis functions are allowed in your jurisdiction? E.g., growing, processing.

Section II of ZPPPD (production of illicit drugs) explicitly regulates the permitted production of Cannabis sativa L., stating that it may only be cultivated for food and industrial purposes on the basis of a permit issued by the Ministry responsible for agriculture. Rules on conditions for obtaining a permit for hemp and poppy cultivation stipulate more detailed conditions for obtaining the permit for production of Cannabis Sativa L., which may only be cultivated for the production of food and beverages, for the production of substances for cosmetic purposes, for fiber production, for animal feed and for other industrial purposes. Under these rules, hemp is considered to be any of the hemp varieties listed in the common catalogue of varieties, whose content of THC must not exceed 0.2% (if an analysis of the crop finds that the THC content exceeds 0.2%, then the crop is treated in accordance with the regulations governing the production and trade of illicit drugs).

While Section II of ZPPPD (production of illicit drugs) explicitly regulates the permitted production of Cannabis Sativa L. containing less than 0.2% of THC, Section III (Trade in illicit drugs) makes no reference to permitted trade with such hemp and general rules on trade in illicit drugs apply. In other words, due to failure to refer to a specific class of industrial grade hemp, trade in illicit drugs is only permitted:

1. for specific purposes under the ZPPPD

trade in Group II illicit drugs is permitted for medical, veterinary, educational and scientific research purposes

2. and if the requirements of the sectoral law are met

in particular, a permit issued by the ministry for the wholesale trade in medical products; and

a number of conditions laid down in a special law for the wholesale trade in medicinal products.

3. Lastly, illicit drugs may only be imported and exported by legal and natural persons who are registered to carry out the production or trade in wholesale medicines and on the basis of a special permit issued by the Ministry.

6. What sales or use is allowed in your jurisdiction? E.g., edibles, vaping, tinctures, food additives, etc.

Medical cannabis is allowed only via a doctor’s prescription.

In the field of cosmetic products, the use of natural and artificial narcotics in cosmetic products is prohibited, including, but not limited to, hemp pots and extracts and tinctures of hemp. This prevents the sale of CBD cosmetic products (e.g., creams) because ingredients for use in cosmetic products are produced precisely from prohibited parts of the plant. It is worth mentioning that the use of artificial (synthetic) CBD in cosmetic products is not prohibited, although the effects of synthetic CBD are even less studied and tested than those of natural CBD, so its use is not yet widespread.

With regard to the edibles, only products made from hemp are allowed. For example, seeds, seed oil, hemp seed flour, defatted hemp and other products not considered as novel under EU Novel Food Catalogue.

A. Are the rules different for medical vs. adult recreational use?

Yes.

While cannabis remains illegal in Slovenia, the medical cannabis community has been growing.

In 2012, a proposal was drafted to decriminalize medical cannabis, but it failed to obtain the necessary support. A new proposal was drafted in 2013 after a strong public advocacy campaign was coordinated by SKSK (Cannabis Social Club Slovenia). The Slovenian media successfully promoted a new petition, which succeeded in gaining enough public support. As a result, the Slovenian government reclassified cannabinoids as Class II illegal drugs, which allowed for the medical use of cannabinoid drugs, but not medical cannabis flowers.

Note that the Ministry of Health produced draft legislation that would allow a regulated medical cannabis programme. The initial draft allowed patients access to flowers, extracts and synthetic variations when prescribed by a doctor, but cultivation remained illegal.

B. Are retail sales of any cannabis products restricted to specific retail channels? E.g., medical dispensaries, government-owned stores, etc.

Medical cannabis is sold only in pharmacies.

C. Are there zoning restrictions on where medical, wellness, or adult-use (recreational) outlet can be located? Applicable to all cannabis products?

No.

7. What import and export is allowed in your jurisdiction?

A. Are there restrictions in relation to the countries of origin, i.e., which countries of origin are permitted?

No.

B. Please describe restrictions on the import of cannabis seeds.

Illicit drugs may only be imported and exported by legal and natural persons who are registered to carry out the production or trade in wholesale medicines and on the basis of a special permit issued by the Ministry.

8. Does your region distinguish between different types of cannabis products? (E.g., high or low concentrations of THC.)

No.

9. Are there legal requirements on Cannabidiol (“CBD”) products (without tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”))?

In Slovenia, the production, sale and use of CBD products are not specifically regulated at the national level; there is a legal vacuum and a considerable ambiguity. The official bodies (Inspectorates, Offices) consider that the verification of CBD content in products is not within their competence, except in the case of food (or food supplements), cosmetics or products for medical use. If an individual CBD product does not belong to any of these species, it is not expressly covered by any regulation. Notwithstanding the above, given the unregulated area and the lack of precedents for now, it is not possible to predict how the competent authorities would deal with a particular “controversial” CBD product and what their decision would be.

V. Patients and prescriptions

10. What specific medical conditions, if any, are recognized for treatment with cannabis?

No specific medical condition is recognized for treatment with cannabis.

11. Is there a licensed practitioner requirement in order to prescribe cannabis for medical purposes?

No.

12. Are there patient registration or cardholder requirements?

No.

IV. Special requirements

13. Does your jurisdiction require any recordkeeping from seed planting to the time of end user sale? For all cannabis products?

In accordance with the rules on conditions for obtaining a permit for hemp and poppy cultivation (Art. 9), at the time of inspection, the grower needs to provide the inspector with evidence of the purchase of certified hemp seed or poppy seed which he has sown on the basis of a permit:

– the invoice for the purchase of seed, showing the quantity and variety of seed and the number of the seed quality declaration;

– a seed quality declaration issued by the registered producer, who has put the seed on the market. The particulars on the declaration must correspond to the invoice information as regards the variety and the declaration number.

Under ZPPPD (Art. 22), legal and natural persons producing and operating wholesale drug trafficking must keep records with the following information:

– quantities imported or exported and types of illicit drugs;

– the name or business name and registered office of the seller or buyer;

– the number of the import or export permit on the basis of which the banned drug was imported or exported;

– the date of purchase or delivery of the prohibited drug; and

– the quantities and types of illicit drugs in stock.

14. Are special taxes imposed? On what and when?

No.

15. Are there any special rules or limitations that apply to the industry? E.g., banking, patent or trademark protection, labeling requirements.

No special requirements.

16. What is the legal status of access to financial services, including banking, merchant services, and cash handling?

There is no special regulation in access to financial services for subjects operating in the cannabis sector.

17. Is data collected to determine the social or health impact of the rules in your jurisdictions? E.g.,

A. Impact on use by underage/minors.

B. Impact on beer, wine and spirit sales.

C. Tax revenue.

D. Impact on crime, including drug and alcohol addiction.

Not by any official source.

18. What are the most critical issues currently facing the industry in your jurisdiction?

At present, the classification of CBD products in Slovenia is unclear.

19. What is the current enforcement landscape with respect to cannabis? E.g., strict enforcement, low-enforcement, decriminalization, legalization.

In Slovenia there is strict enforcement. In accordance with the Criminal Code (Art. 186), anyone who unduly manufactures, sells or offers for sale or purchases, stores or transmits or to the market for sale or purchase or otherwise unduly places on the market of plants or substances classified as prohibited drugs or illicit substances in sport or precursors used for the manufacture of narcotics, will be punished by imprisonment of between one and 10 years.

A. Does enforcement differ based on quantity?

Yes, however it is not stipulated in the Criminal Code, this depends on the court practice. Note that cultivation and possession of narcotic substances for personal use only does not result in criminal liability.

B. Does enforcement differ based on product type?

Yes, it does.

Enforcement does not differ based on the product type in which the cannabis is entailed (e.g., if it is a joint or a hash brownie), rather, the amount of THC in the product is decisive. With regard to the CBD products which are sold as food with a low THC amount (that is less than 0.2%), local food authorities can also act on the basis of food law due to the inclusion of CBD in the Novel Food Catalogue. This issue does not exist regarding CBD products distributed e.g. as synthetic cosmetic products.

V. Your practice and useful links

20. Tell us a little about your cannabis practice and how it interacts with other practices at your firm. Remember to include any recognition awards your firm has received in this practice area. How much experience does your firm have providing services to cannabis companies and how much interest does your firm have to grow its cannabis practice?

Our law firm has provided services to multiple cannabis companies. Due to the legal vacuum, the interest in the cannabis industry is growing; therefore, the need for legal consulting is frequent.

21. Please provide links to any firm website, blogs, reputable trade publications, or attorneys that would help others understand the state of the law in your jurisdictions.

A. Are there any relevant trade organizations?

No. Only unofficial trade organizations.

B. Are there any relevant lobbying organizations?

No. Only unofficial lobbying organizations.

 

*Bech-Bruun