The Mediterranean country of Greece legalized medical cannabis back in June. In doing so, it became the sixth country in the EU to do so and subsequently began to attract interest from investors looking to capitalize on the country’s potential as a major cultivator.
Due to its sunny climate and potentially favorable future legislation, Greece, a country that has gone through substantial economic turmoil over the last decade, could soon have a thriving home-grown medical cannabis industry that has the potential to lift it out of economic crisis.
After Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced that Greece would legalize medical cannabis in the summer, further strides were taken to relax cannabis laws more recently when the plant was officially rescheduled from Table A (comparable to the Schedule I classification in the U.S.) to Table B, a classification reserved for potentially dangerous drugs that do have medicinal value.
Deputy Minister for Agriculture Yiannis Tsironis has even come out and said that cannabis should be able to be cultivated legally, “even on someone’s balcony”.
Medical cannabis in Greece
Legislators are now drawing up the rules and regulations for the country’s medical cannabis program to be fully implemented. This will see doctors allowed to prescribe cannabis for conditions such as muscle spasms, chronic pain, PTSD, epilepsy and cancer.
If approved, the bill covering medical legalization, which expected to be submitted by the end of the year, could see the first crop of medical cannabis harvested as early as next summer.
While cannabis-based medicines are currently allowed to be imported from other countries, investors are focusing on Greece’s potential as a cultivator, reports Bloomberg. They believe a Greek cannabis cultivation industry could claim a share of a global market predicted to be worth 200 billion euros in the next 10 years, resulting in a huge boost for the country’s flagging economy.
CBD in Greece
While CBD and CBD oil is not widely known about or used in Greece, this is starting to change. The country has a long history of cultivating cannabis and its hemp industry has experienced a rebirth over the last two years. Much of this is due to the much-publicized therapeutic benefits of CBD, which can be legally harvested from the EU-certified hemp that is already being grown for numerous purposes.
According to Bloomberg, Greece already has solid interest from a number of large-scale growers, who want to invest more than 1.5 billion euros ($1.74 billion) into building the infrastructure of the industry such as greenhouse parks.
A single greenhouse park would feature 12 to 15 cannabis greenhouses, providing jobs for up to 400 people, says the taskforce who are preparing the legalization bill. For a country that has one of the highest levels of unemployment in the EU – more than 20% – this could be an effective way to reduce it.
Although the country has no plans for legalizing recreational use or decriminalizing possession, Greece’s progressive views on medical cannabis could well benefit the troubled country’s economy just as much as those suffering from certain medical conditions.