This June, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced that Greece would be the sixth country in the European Union to legalize medical cannabis. The government officially rescheduled cannabis from Table A, a criminal classification comparable to the Schedule I classification in the U.S., to Table B, which is reserved for potentially dangerous drugs that still have important medical properties. The country currently allows cannabis-based medicine to be imported from other countries, but investors are now focusing their efforts on creating a homegrown cultivation industry, which they believe will bolster the country’s flagging economy, says a new report from Bloomberg.
Already, canna-businesses have expressed their interest in investing over $1.74 billion into creating greenhouse parks that would include both cultivation and processing facilities, according to Bloomberg. Each of these parks, which would contain 12 to 15 greenhouses for cultivation, could create up to 400 jobs, says the government’s cannabis task force. This is great news for a country that has faced unemployment rates of over 20% for the last six years; some of the highest rates in the E.U.
A thriving medical cannabis industry would be a great boon to the country’s economy, as government officials have estimated that the industry could grow to 200 billion Euros by 2027, says Bloomberg. Prime Minister Tsipras is hoping investments like those being proposed by medical cannabis cultivators to boost his country’s troubled economy.
Now that the path for medical cannabis has been cleared, legislators are beginning to draft the rules and regulations that will allow the program to take full effect. Lawmakers have announced their intentions to submit a bill covering the details of the new program by the end of the year. If passed, this would allow the first crop of medical cannabis to be harvested next summer, reports Bloomberg.
“Thousands of Greek households with family members suffering from serious illnesses like cancer and Parkinson’s disease will be able to get drugs produced right here, under World Health Organization guidelines,” said Evangelos Apostolou, minister of rural development and food, to Bloomberg. He also indicated that the government is currently not considering the legalization of recreational use, and will focus efforts solely on medical cannabis.