In general, there are two main arguments in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. The first is that it will give patients access to an alternative form of therapy. The second is that it will open a new, and in most places rapidly growing, market. In the country of Greece, medical marijuana laws have been going through big changes recently. Now, the Greek government hopes that these cannabis law changes will create economic growth.
Medical Marijuana in Greece
The first big legal change in Greece came in 2017. Last year, the country made it legal for adults to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.
This was a key development for patients in the country who wanted to use medical cannabis. But the initial law was relatively inadequate.
The main problem was that it was still illegal to grow or produce cannabis in Greece. As a result, it was very difficult for patients to actually get their hands on medical marijuana.
Fortunately for those patients, the Greek government made another key change to its laws this year. In March, Greece made it legal to grow and produce medical marijuana and medical marijuana products.
Medical cannabis advocates said the change could go a long way toward helping patients get the medication they need.
“It has thrilled patients and their families, who were tortured with having to go abroad to find cannabis,” neurologist Georgis Economopoulos told Reuters.
In addition to directly benefitting patients, Greek officials hope the change will bring an economic boost to the country as well.
One of the primary ways the law could boost economic activity is by making it possible for people in Greece to start their own medical marijuana companies. In particular, companies that grow and produce medical cannabis products.
Additionally, the Greek government said it could encourage tons of investment activity, primarily from other countries.
And almost immediately, it looked like that could very well be the case. According to local news sources, the country has already had at least five big investment groups express interest.
Two of them were huge Canadian companies. Aphria said it may try to build 92,000 square meters of greenhouse space. The company would be able to produce more than 100 tons of cannabis in that amount of space. It would also reportedly create around 500 new jobs.
Similarly, Canadian company Canopy Growth said it wanted to invest more than 50 million euros in the Greek medical marijuana industry.
In addition, Golden Greece Cannabis has talked about plans to build a growing facility. The company could invest anywhere from 400 million to 1 billion euros.
And finally, a company based in Shanghai, China called Europacific Medical may be interested in investing around 20 million euros in Greek cultivation sites.
Of course, there’s no real way to know exactly how all this talk of foreign investment will go. At this point, it’s primarily early-stage talks in a very new Greek medical marijuana market.
But one way or another, Greece’s new change could help make cannabis, in general, more legally acceptable in the country. And it could make medical marijuana much more accessible to thousands of medical marijuana patients.