Is weed authorized in Austria? – The attitude of a neighborhood
In contrast to neighboring Germany, the Austrian weed laws are relatively strict. Although legal recreational herb is still a while away, there has been a medical marijuana program in Austria for years. But where it gets confusing are the definitions. Smoking weeds in Austria is still not legal, although it is no longer a crime if it is intended for personal use. But don't light a joint yet as you need to understand the very confusing advantages and disadvantages of the whole. As an explanation, we asked an Austrian locally about his perspective and opinion.
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Austria's weed laws
Austria's cannabis laws changed fundamentally in 2008. Cannabis for medical and scientific purposes has been legalized provided the THC content is no more than 0.3%. A second change in 2016 was the partial decriminalization of possession and cultivation of cannabis for personal health reasons. A criminal conviction is still possible, but less likely if the person is willing to comply with health authorities. The personal ownership limit was also set at 20 grams, which can lead to a maximum prison term of 6 months. Higher amounts are likely to result in longer prison terms and have no way for health authorities to monitor the matter, not the police. The sale and distribution remains a serious crime.
Medical marijuana in Austria
Austria has legal weeds in the form of marijuana products. The government has not yet set up a system to distribute dried cannabis flowers to patients. However, patients can legally import a selected number of products. Dronabinol and Sativex are allowed in a similar way to many other European countries. The lack of choice and availability of cannabis has been a hot topic in the Austrian government lately. As the heads of state and government continue their debates, the citizens of Austria appear to be far more uniform on this issue. At least when it comes to medical marijuana.
Austria supports Legal Medical Weed
From a 2017 survey, 78% of respondents Support the idea that people have access to medical cannabis through pharmacies. When asked about legal recreational herbs, only 29% of Austria came to support them (although the question asked was worded differently). This is a fairly significant drop that is reflected when asked about personal cultivation or over-the-counter purchase.
Strongly agree, agree, disagree, disagree, assure that medical cannabis should only be available in pharmacies with a prescription59% 19% 9% 9% 4% Cannabis should generally be all people over the age of 21 Years and over 15% 14% 15% 49% 7% are available for medical purposes 15% 11% 20% 48% 5% Medical cannabis should be available without prescription in drug stores or hemp shops 11% 10% 19% 54% 5% Source: derstandard.at
An interview with a local Austrian
F: Can you tell me something about yourself
A: My name is Andy, I am 25 years old and I am an engineer and work as a project manager for motorway construction sites. I live in Graz, the second largest city in Austria. Around 440,000 people live in Graz with a large number of students from all over southern Austria.
F: How long have you been living in Austria?
A: I was born in Austria, but lived for the first 21 years of my life in a small town (20,000 people) at the foot of the Alps.
F: What is the general attitude towards cannabis in Austria? Are people slowly changing their minds? Is it usually only acceptable to younger generations?
A: Cannabis use is widespread in urban areas. You can smell it at pretty much any park and club car park at night. But even in the Alpine regions, nobody really cares if you smoke a joint. With the younger generation, it is widespread across the country. Almost as wide as alcohol.
Yes, there is a change. It becomes a less taboo subject. In my opinion, this is because cannabis use has been featured more frequently in the media in recent years since Colorado was legalized, and there has been controversy over how much tax revenue a country can generate by legalizing cannabis. Also the argument that alcohol is much more harmful to your body and that your mind is often heard (alcoholism is widespread in Austria).
F: Are there certain areas of the country that are stronger for legalization? Are the larger cities with their views like America usually more liberal?
A: Yes, the people in the cities are much more for legalization.
F: Can you see that Austria will legalize recreational cannabis in the next 5 years? If so, do you think it would be a fairly smooth implementation without much play? If not, do you think this will happen in the next 10 years?
A: Unfortunately, I think the chances are very slim that recreational use will be legalized in the next ten years. We have a conservative right-wing party coalition with the Greens in our parliament. But the Greens as partners are very silent because Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is not afraid to leave the coalition for re-election, as he previously did with the far-right party. Kurz is very popular in Austria and he handles the coronavirus situation fairly well. I think he is definitely facing a second and maybe third term. Perhaps decriminalization will continue as it did in the last decade, when the police and courts slowly stopped caring for cannabis users because they lack the resources to clear up any property they own.
Weed in Germany