E.U. Moves to fast-track plans to legalise Medical Cannabis

E.U. Moves to fast-track plans to legalise Medical Cannabis

The legality of cannabis use widely varies from one country to another. There have been some definite trends towards its legalisation, though the process has been quite slow. There have been several forward-thinking countries like Australia, Canada, Uruguay, Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Colombia that have amended their laws, allowing marijuana consumption, at the very least, for medical purposes.

Now according to press reports, Greece is also looking forward to joining the group of countries to allow the production of cannabis but for medical use. The report says the government of Greece is set to fast-track its plans to legalise the growth of medical cannabis. According to New York Times, the cash-strapped country hopes to see economic growth in medical marijuana in its headline to the news. The government hopes that increasing interest from investors may just help efforts in pulling out Greece out of years of economic crisis.

The Associated Press article says legislation meant to legalise production of medical cannabis, submitted to Greece parliament on Wednesday, 8th February 2018. The legislature is due to vote on the bill later on this month.

The report further says the country allowed last year the use of medical cannabis. However, Greece presently depends solely on imports, waiting for preparation of a legal framework for domestic growers.

Presenting the more delicate details of the proposed bill, government officials said that they hoped over three years, domestic production plus processing may attract investments €1.5 billion euros.

Solution to Economic Crisis

Greece sees this legislation as a partial solution to the economic crisis it has faced over the past years. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said last summer that he would bring a law that would allow, for medical purposes, the use of cannabis. The prime minister, according to an article appearing in The Independent, said from then on, Greece was turning its page, as the country is included now in those countries where delivery of medical marijuana to those patients in need of it is legal.

In November 2017, Bloomberg reported that the government hoped to put this legislation before its parliament by the end of that year, even though it didn’t materialise then. It further stated that Evangelos Apostolou, the agriculture minister, said growers already had expressed their interest in investing £1.3bn, or €1.5bn, into projects in Greece for projects that would build greenhouse parks for production of cannabis.

According to this latest draft legislation for medical marijuana legalisation in Greece, growers must be 21 years of age or over. They also should have no previous convictions related to drugs, and they should have at least one acre of land or more available for production.

Medical Use of Cannabis

California legalised cannabis for medical use some two decades ago. But no member of EU nation has yet followed suit. But while smoking marijuana remains illegal, it’s instructive to note that its extract, called nabiximols is a legal medicine in some EU countries (18), including the UK.

Several commentators have predicted that smoking cannabis could also be legalised, but only for medical purposes. While the Minister of Agriculture appeared to imply in the Bloomberg report that the new laws would just relate to the drug, Sativex.

He was reported as saying the drugs would be produced in the country, but under World Health Organisation guidelines.