Greece expects huge investments in the production of medical cannabis which the government hopes would add up to 1.5 billion euros ($1.67 billion) annually to state revenue, Minister for Development and Investment Adonis Georgiadis said.
Speaking exclusively to Greek Reporter, Georgiadis maintained that medical cannabis would be produced and sold in Greece beginning in 2022.
“The goal is for Greece to become the top European country in the production of medical cannabis. Greece’s environment is friendly for this particular plant and we think we will have a natural advantage,” Georgiadis told Greek Reporter.
Greece legalized medical cannabis in 2017 and repealed a ban on cultivation and production in March 2018.
Medical cannabis, also called medical marijuana, is an herbal drug derived from plants of the genus Cannabis that is used as part of the treatment for a specific symptom or disease such as cancer, chronic pain, and mental disorders.
The two major cannabinoids extracted from this plant that provide medical benefits include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
Medical cannabis to be sold in pharmacies
Georgiadis said a big investment by Τikun Εurope near the city of Corinth is already complete and two more investments from companies in the U.K. and Canada are on the cards for the production of medical cannabis in Macedonia and Patra.
Tikun Europe was founded in Greece in 2018 and is a subsidiary of the Israeli Tikun Olam global player in the research and development of medical cannabis products. It is the first company to have been granted a license for the cultivation, processing, and production of medical cannabis in Greece.
The Greek minister revealed to Greek Reporter that foreigners will also be able to use medical cannabis in Greece and that they would be allowed to purchase it through pharmacies with “the only condition [being] that they have a prescription from their doctor.” In Amsterdam and other cities, on the other hand, users must attain medical marijuana at specialty stores.
Cannabis for recreation illegal in Greece
The Greek minister, however, warned that the use of cannabis for recreational purposes is still prohibited in Greece. “This is illegal and you will be arrested,” Georgiadis stressed.
He said that he is personally against the legalization of cannabis for recreational use.
Malta became the first EU country to legalize cannabis for personal and at-home use in December.
Malta’s parliament approved a legal reform that grants citizens the ability to grow and possess specific amounts of marijuana. Citizens aged 18 and over may possess no more than seven grams of cannabis and may legally grow up to four plants in their homes.
Germany is also preparing to legalize cannabis for recreational use. The country’s coalition government announced in late December that it would permit “the controlled sale of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes in licensed shops.”
The proposal seeks to create a market for the regulated sale and consumption of cannabis as part of a wider drug policy that would tax dispensaries, monitor the quality of the drug, and establish proactive laws preventing underage use.
The new law is part of the center-left government headed by Olaf Scholz, who recently replaced Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party had been opposed to the proposal for years.