- The Austrian capital of Vienna has just inaugurated a new embassy that requires no diplomatic corps, as this facility is open to everyone around the world.
- The Hemp Embassy’s aim is to dispel the negative image harboured of cannabis through a stunning exhibition familiarising the public with the plant in such a way that it loses its fear of grass.
- Its supporters also seek to demonstrate that cultivating cannabis is not illegal, and hope that it serves to generate dialogue between those who support and oppose regulation.
- Dinafem visited the embassy, already having our passport to this very magical place.
In Austria it is legal to cultivate cannabis plants and to allow their buds grow. The general public, however, has been ignorant of this fact for some time now, in part due to certain factions that have spread misinformation on the issue. The Hemp Embassy is determined to clear up these myths and for citizens to understand that in Austria it is only illegal to harvest and extract narcotics, which, in legal terms, means separating the buds from the plant.
This "hemp embassy" is a museum located in Vienna whose mission is to educate the public about cannabis and its different varieties of plants. The main force behind it is the group Bulshplanet, the first company to begin to produce and sell cannabis cuttings in Austria, which it has done since 1998, when the issue was still very controversial, which meant that they had to pass inspections and even be subjected to parole sentences.
They paved the way in the country so that others could work in the same sector. Meanwhile, the different judicial decisions handed down have established that it is totally legal for those cuttings to be produced and sold in Austria.
Its new and extraordinary facility opened its doors two weeks ago, a permanent exhibition of cannabis plants also featuring support by several major seed banks, including Dinafem, with one of its genetics featured in a display case. It has also received counsel on legal questions from a number of university professors and lawyers. We were able visit the Hemp Embassy during our recent visit to Austria to attend the Cultiva Hanfmesse convention, and we can tell you that it is an amazing place.
Anyone can visit the facility located on Esterhazygasse 34, from Monday to Saturday between 12:00 noon and 8:00 pm, to view the exhibition, which consists of six medium-sized and one large security-glass showcases displaying thriving marijuana plants in all their different flowering periods, from the nascent phase through to maturity. Each display also includes detailed information on their THC and CBD contents, the duration of their flowering stages, and their genetic origins.
Stivi, the founder of the Bushplanet Group, believes that cannabis plants, particularly females, are attractive and have a strong and special allure, and hopes that showing them to the public will change perceptions of them. "We hope that they will shed their fear of cannabis," he added.
In the Hemp Embassy team's opinion, cannabis has been undermined not only by its prohibition in Europe and many parts of the United States in the last 50 years, but particularly by the "war on drugs" undertaken by the US government in the '80s.
This government effort, the lobbying groups associated with it, and their strident propaganda completely distorted perceptions of cannabis, despite the fact that it has been used and appreciated in Western culture for almost 30,000 years. Thus, the mission of the Hemp Embassy is to counteract that negative image and to serve all those who wish to learn about marijuana and everything related to a plant that is vital to humanity.
"We believe that the war on drugs is over," says Stivi. In light of this, this unique hemp embassy functions as an institution through which cannabis serves an important diplomatic mission by influencing governments, the public in general, and even the United Nations, whose drug control office is located right in Vienna.
At this time the residents of Vienna are fortunate to enjoy the opportunity to see, in first person, a marvellous Critical + plant by Dinafem, although the strain is changed every four or five weeks. Plants from other seed banks are also on display, like the Humboldt Seed Organization, Paradise Seeds, Sensi Seeds and White Label, in addition to medical plants of different genetics.
All the plants growing at the hemp embassy are documented. When they mature and it is harvest time the entire plant is placed in a vessel that is sealed under the supervision of a notary public. These containers, also under notarial supervision, are periodically disposed of at Wien Energie GmbH facilities in the district of Simmeringer Haide.
Those who turn out to visit the centre are also able to smell each plant's exquisite fragrance through openings in their display cabinets, which allow their aromas to directly reach visitors' noses. They are also able to attempt to differentiate and understand, with great focus and attention, even the subtlest aspects distinguishing one from the next, thanks to informational videos complementing the displays.
Stivi says that this is an experience that can be of benefit to those not accustomed to seeing these types of plants up close, and those who do not even know what these types of plants look like. Cannabis lovers and regular growers can also visit the museum, using it as a reference point in the sector and to get ideas for their next crops.
Hemp Embassy believes that cannabis plants are as varied as they are beautiful, and that it is positive for citizens to see them, not as a substance but as a plant featuring different shapes, colours and potencies, in a way similar to grapevines. They think that the time has come to put an end to the distinction between what some deem good and others bad.
After all, cannabis flowers are nothing more than the result of a natural process of development, constituting a fundamental part of the plant and essential for the acquisition of stimulating products used in the therapeutic spheres. In short, they believe that it is impossible to prohibit a plant created by Nature and are confident that, in an informed and advanced society, sensible policies related to marijuana consumption can be devised and maintained.
Hence, the Hemp Embassy of Vienna wishes to foster dialogue between those who support legalisation and those who are against it. In fact, Stivi states that it is especially necessary to speak with those who are somewhat reluctant. The aim is to create a union through which to pursue the regulation of marijuana growing in a way that accounts for the interests of all the parties involved.
Of course, a visit to this important place will leave nobody indifferent, after enjoying access to all kinds of information on cannabis cultivation, decriminalisation and legalisation. Visits are totally free, and the centre is open to visitors of all ages, even small children. Long live the Hemp Embassy!