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Can Greece use medical hashish to avoid wasting its troubled financial system?

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Greece is rich in history, full of mythology and houses beautiful beaches, rich Mediterranean food and sights such as the Parthenon. Greece is also a country struggling against economic consequences and trying to revive its wounded economy. Could Greece's legal medical cannabis industry be a ticket to economic security?

In 2015, Greece missed its payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), resulting in a debt default of EUR 1.6 billion. These problems started decades earlier with poor structural adjustments in the 1980s that led to mass inflation, mainly due to the fact that Greece had a generally poorly run economy. Greece lied about its economic status and government deficit (which was well above the 3% ceiling for entry into the euro area) to gain access in 2001.

Instead of an economy revived by the single currency, however, this led to a perceived sense of stability, which led to lower interest rates and higher expenditure, which, without really addressing the real problem of a lack of general income, led to economic disaster in the Year 2009 and over $ 350 billion in bailouts. Greece has had problems strengthening and rebuilding since then, but it still has a long way to go.

In recent years, with the medical cannabis industry on the rise (and more and more countries are adopting medical programs to back it up), entry into this fresh economy has opened new doors to revenue for the struggling countries. Africa is a good example of this, and a look at this region will show several countries with recently and rapidly changing legislation to help them enter this market. Greece is another country to follow suit, hoping to change the direction of its own economy.

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Cannabis laws in Greece (for residents)

First, let's look at what Greek law allows for cannabis. According to the Greek Drugs Act of 1987, the consumption or possession of drugs in any quantity is punished with imprisonment. As of 2013, an amendment to this law made it much less stringent, as only a few people were approved for personal use with a sentence of just five months and no criminal record unless the crime is committed again within five years (still by comparison) steep) to some European countries). Prison terms are often suspended if the perpetrator enters the right treatment program.

Cultivation and supply crimes are illegal for private individuals, and supply crimes can take up to eight years in prison, although this can be reduced in the case of an addict who is part of a supply group. On the other hand, it can be a life sentence if committed by someone who is considered socially responsible, such as doctors or politicians. Fines can also be imposed on criminals between € 50,000 and € 500,000.

If a person is caught growing a small number of plants, they will not normally get into hot water. However, if you grow a larger number that is believed to be intended to be distributed, much higher penalties will be imposed. Similar to Ireland, Greece allows the sale, possession and purchase of cannabis seeds, but it becomes illegal as soon as the seeds are allowed to germinate and grow.

Cannabis laws for businesses

Greece legalized medical cannabis in 2017 after lifting the ban on cannabis cultivation in 2018 and allowing the manufacture and export of cannabis products. According to European law, all cultivation and production for plants with less than 0.2% THC must take place.

American pioneer expects Greece to make its first foreign investments

There is no guarantee or requirement for licenses for local farmers, with a strong expectation for external investment. A total of three licenses are required for a company to get involved in the cannabis industry in Greece, and the government is more likely to approve companies with pre-existing industries that can support all stages of cultivation, production and processing. The government's three licensing areas are the Ministry of Economy and Development, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Rural Development and Food. The licensing process is as follows:

– Installation license: This is the first license and can be granted once a company (if it comes from abroad) founds a Greek company that can buy or lease the land to set up its business. This license is required to start building a facility. Some of the provisions that are required when choosing a property to build a business include:

There must be a reasonable distance from a power supply. There must be a reasonable distance from the schools. There must be a reasonable distance from adequate access to water. The area must be a single room of at least 4 acres. All security requirements must be followed. Criminal applicants (or anyone who employs a criminal offense will not be approved (along with some offenses). Approval can only be granted if the land use regulations allow it

– Operating license: This is the second license that can be issued after a facility is completed.

– Medical license: This is the third license that can be granted with the approval of a product and enables the sale of products in Europe. This does not prevent companies from granting local permits per country in accordance with the regulations of the individual member states.

By August 2019, Greece had approved 26 licenses for medical cannabis growing companies.

Medical marijuana recovery?

Greece approved medical cannabis in June 2017. At that time, Deputy Minister of Economics Stergios Pitsiorlas said: “There is great interest, mainly from Canada and Israel. Some of them (potential investors) are huge. ”

Greece wants home grown cannabis to boost the economy

In March 2018, Greece legalized the cultivation and manufacture of cannabis products for medical purposes and received license applications very quickly. The first 14 licenses granted should create more than 750 jobs and bring in more than EUR 185 million.

According to the Greek City Times, the first two licenses to be awarded at the end of 2018 went to BioProCann SA and Biomecann SA, who together own 57 acres of land and hope to create 117 new jobs together. Both are international companies in which Greek investors are involved along with other participants. A third company, Cannatec Greece, is expected to start production at the end of 2019 with an investment of 255 million euros. Another company, Ohio company Devcann, raises € 12 million for its industrial cannabis operation.

These are just a few examples of the money that flows into Greece upon entering the legal cannabis industry. It is very likely that this year's coronavirus situation has slowed the plans of some of these companies, but when things return to normal, it is expected that they will be operational very soon, along with many other companies that have already done so will get license.

Conclusion

Greece is certainly not the most liberal country when it comes to marijuana. However, it is better than many other things – even in Europe, and with the establishment of a medical cannabis program for patient use and private production, it has worked its way into the newly shaped medical cannabis industry and provided the necessary medicine to patients.

Greece could definitely use economic help, and with this new source of income Greece could finally be able to pull itself out of the financial chaos that it has been in for decades.

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Beth Edmonds