On Monday, Greece gave out its first two medical cannabis cultivation licenses to the private companies Biomecann and Bioprocann. The licenses mean both companies can begin growing cannabis in Greece, which many expect will produce hundreds of new jobs and attract domestic and international investment. The pair of licenses are just the first of 14 Greece’s Economy and Development Ministry will issue by the year’s end.
Biomecann, based in central Greece in Larisa, and Bioprocann, based in Corinth, are just the first private cultivation companies that have received licenses. By the end of the year, officials say they will issue another twelve. Licenses will be good for five years with annual renewals. All 14 licensed cultivators represent more than $212 million USD in investment and could create more than 750 jobs, according to Reuters.
Medical patients in Greece have had access to cannabis prescriptions since 2017, when the country became the sixth in the EU to legalize. Soon after, Greece open up to medical cannabis imports and revitalized its stagnant hemp industry. And in March of this year, the country legalized domestic cultivation and production of medical cannabis products. And while licensed private cultivators will certainly sell to domestic retailers, the aim is really to gear toward export. Greek patients have no shortage of access to medical cannabis products. Now, the SYRIZA government is working on making a robust cannabis export industry part of its vision of economic recovery.
While establishing the necessary legislative and regulatory frameworks to support its fledgling cannabis industry, Greece officials hosted a number of high profile events to woo investors. Several other EU nations have beat Greece to the punch in terms of establishing cultivation industries. But Greece hopes its regulations offer incentives that make it a more attractive choice for major international companies.
It’s no secret that Greece’s economic troubles have put the country in a dire financial predicament. Unable to pay its debts, the country had to accept the harsh terms imposed in bailout negotiations with European lenders. Greece’s progressive SYRIZA government believes medical cannabis can provide a much needed boost to the nation’s economic recovery. Hence, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ welcoming embrace of the industry. In fact, Tsipras’s party is projecting $2.3 billion in revenue from the cultivation and production of medical marijuana.
In short, Greece has plans to become a major player on the international medical cannabis cultivation stage. It wants to compete with top European exporters like Denmark and the UK. But so far, there are no plans to legalize and regulate adult cannabis use.
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