The Greek government is proceeding in fast-track with the regulations for the legalization of the farming and use of medical cannabis. At a press conference, Health Minister Andreas Xanthos, Rural Development and Foods Minister Vangelis Apostolou and Economy and Development Minister Dimitri Papadimitriou unveiled details of the relevant draft bill and outlined the major guidelines for the farming and then the access of the medical cannabis to patients.
The committee had stressed the need to give patients in Greece direct access to medical marijuana products, with the draft bill envisioning a state monopoly regulated by the health ministry and narcotics commission for its production and supply.
The draft bill, which will be tabled in parliament, will meet a longstanding demand by patients that need to use such products, while studies have provided strong evidence regarding their benefits.
- Products of medical cannabis will be distributed via pharmacies, initially with a doctor’s prescription and will later be included in the electronic prescription system.
The Ministers pointed to Greece’s comparative advantages for cultivating cannabis, such as an ideal climate and strong sunshine.
- The law will allow businesses that meet certain criteria to import certified seeds from other member-states and third countries and plant them in licensed farms with an area of at least 4,000 square metres.
The land used must surrounded by fencing and include all processing and support facilities so that the product does not have to be transported to another location for processing.
The government officials warned that such operations will be subject to frequent and strict inspections and will lose their special licence if they violate the rules, which will be outlined in a joint ministerial decision to be issued soon.
Enterprises currently active in the medical cannabis sector have already expressed keen interest in establishing operations in Greece, which the government estimates will translate into about one billion euros in investments.
The ministers also highlighted the potential benefits for the economy, including job creation, and the “great political courage” needed to propose the legislation.
Just one business plan presented to Greece’s authorities by a Canadian firm hoping to invest in Greece envisioned 2,000 jobs and an investment of 750 million euros.