Recreational and medical cannabis are illegal in Serbia. In 2015, Serbia appeared to be approving the more liberal approach to medical cannabis but has since backtracked and doubled down on punishments. Possession for personal use is punishable by up to three years in prison, but punishment may be remitted in minor cases.
Cannabis is illegal in Serbia and the Criminal Code makes no distinction between cannabis and other drugs like heroin. The code spells out a jail sentence of up to three years for personal use or small quantities, up to 10 years for larger quantities, and up to 12 years for growing or selling.
Medical marijuana in Serbia
Serbia has no medical marijuana program. In early 2015, the then Health Minister suggested a change in regulations may be coming, but the government backtracked on that just a few months later. Despite medical programs in neighboring countries like Romania, Croatia, and North Macedonia, the Serbian government has refused to move forward.
In 2021, Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin said there were no plans to legalize marijuana. President Aleksandar Vucic said, “Not only has it not been decriminalized, but we will punish it even more severely.”
The government’s position does not reflect the will of all Serbians. Cannabis advocacy group Initiative for Change in the Legal Regulation of Cannabis (IRKA) has been lobbying the government since 2016 and there have been protests for medical cannabis dating back to 2005.
CBD exists in a legal gray area in Serbia. Industrial hemp is legal as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC. Hemp products are used for seeds and fibers but there are stores in larger cities that sell CBD products.
As a member of the EU, Serbia is beholden to the 2020 EU Court ruling that determined CBD and its products were not narcotics, so “a country of the European Union cannot prohibit the marketing of cannabidiol legally produced in another member state.”
Can you grow your own weed?
No, growing cannabis is illegal in Serbia. Farmers may grow industrial hemp, provided that they are registered with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management.
Visiting Serbia – can you buy or bring marijuana products?
While anecdotal reports from the internet state little trouble finding cannabis products, Serbia’s harsh anti-drug laws mean up to three years in jail for a simple joint. All cannabis products in the country come from the black market, so use caution if you decide to try to find the plant.
It would be unwise to attempt to bring cannabis into the country as this could be considered drug trafficking, which carries a 12-year jail sentence.