Zagreb – Croatia’s Supreme Court has ruled to allow the use of marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a disorder that afflicts thousands of the country’s war veterans, the Vecernji List daily said Thursday.
Despite Croatia’s harsh laws on drugs, Wednesday’s verdict surprisingly acquitted a man previously sentenced to a year in prison for growing a small amount of marijuana in Virovitica, 100 kilometres north of Zagreb.
‘The court took into consideration that the defendant suffers rom PTSD. … Marijuana relaxes him and helps him overcome psychological problems,’ the verdict said.
An estimated 10,000-18,000 Croats who took part in 1991-95 independence war are affected by the disorder, also known as post- traumatic stress syndrome, shell-shock and the Vietnam syndrome.
Severe psychological problems, such as depression and outbursts of violence, are associated with the malady.
The ruling clearing the veteran is in stark contrast with the usual practice of the Croatian judiciary, which has been handing out harsh sentences in a bid to curb rampant drug abuse.
In district – or second-level – courts, 40 per cent of all criminal cases are drug related.