The industry that will save Croatia? Here's why growing this plant can solve many problems
It has been estimated that the value of the industrial hemp market in Europe is expected to reach nearly nine billion dollars by 2027. In Croatia, there are many organizations that deal with the cultivation and distribution of this particular plant , but they also face many problems, writes the newspaper Dnevnik.hr.
Although this industry is one of the fastest growing in all of Europe, Croatian growers and growers perpetually encounter many problems that hinder the development and the full potential that Croatian hemp cultivation could have.
The Dom konoplje/Hemp house cooperative is a platform that brings together industrial hemp producers from all over Croatia. The cooperative's executive director, Mihael Zlovolic, has been actively promoting the plant and the entire Croatian hemp industry for years. He believes that the future of this industry is too good to ignore. “I think that according to some of my estimates, the cannabis plant in Croatia will be legalized in 2025 at the latest. We observe similar movements through Europe, for example in Malta, Luxembourg, Switzerland. Germany also plans to legalize cannabis by the end of 2022, so this whole story is part of a larger movement,” he said.
“I am convinced that if all this projet was done properly and if systematic investments were made in the industry at a wider level, we would be able to get rid of all the debts of the country and come out of the economic crisis within the mandate of one government. All of this with the help of industrial hemp,” he said.
However, many obstacles continue to slow the development of this industry and hold back small producers. “Where do I start? First of all, there are so many instances where people are shamelessly stealing plants from small growers that it has become something that has to be factored into the cost of production,” he said.
According to him, this situation is most often the result of ignorance. Legislation, which often lags behind the development of the sector, is also an obstacle. “There are cases where people have ended up in court and the judge was unaware of the latest changes to the Drug Abuse Prevention Act. Not to mention the police. But I have to congratulate them, we are actively cooperating with the police and competent inspectors who help us a lot, but often there are officials who see a cannabis plant and immediately think – drugs,” Zlovolic said.
“These cases occur most often in small communities where not only are the officials unaware of the legal framework, but they are also under pressure from the local population. We still live in a conservative society that when they see someone planting a field of industrial hemp they often react negatively,” he added.
“We should work to educate the population and provide a sound basis for the development of the Croatian hemp industry. The aim is to form a sort of portal and hub of knowledge and information, where people with proven knowledge and skills will be able to educate everyone – not just growers and growers, but also ordinary people – because hemp is the future,” said Zlovolic.
However, to achieve this, systematic support and the formation of an official market are necessary. “We have the knowledge, we have the conditions and we can work miracles. Especially when you have such people who also have a strong will and desire to get started. The question now is how to get ordinary people to recognize it,” he said.