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Learn | 01.31.2024

Is Weed Legal in Greece? What To Expect In 2024

Travel plans? Learn about the legal status of marijuana and hemp in Greece.

Planning a trip abroad this summer? If you’re looking for a truly extraordinary experience, few destinations can compare to the historical and cultural richness of Greece.

This country captivates travelers with its ancient ruins, majestic fortresses, and charming churches that, while not as old as the ruins, still tell fascinating stories. However, there is something else that contributes to Greece’s uniqueness: its recent evolution in relation to cannabis.

In a significant twist, Greece has recently legalized the medicinal use of cannabis, joining other European destinations such as Finland, the Czech Republic, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain, and Germany. These countries not only share beautiful landscapes but also a more open outlook towards responsible cannabis use.

Known as the “cradle of Western civilization,” Greece has seen remarkable progress in recent years in terms of cannabis regulation. This transformation not only reflects a change in the nation’s policies but also an adaptation to broader trends in the perception of cannabis in contemporary society.

About Greece

Photo by Anders Kristensen

Known as the birthplace of democracy, the ancient capital, Athens, transports the visitor to a distant past. Scattered among bustling cities of people, relics of the millennia-old past protrude skyward.

Sculpture, architecture, and nature itself evoke memories of yesteryear (including some of the earliest recorded accounts of cannabis, written by Herodotus around 440 BC).

When the whitewashed hillside towns, crowned with sky-blue domes, meet the waters, they give way to pure Mediterranean beauty. Off the mainland coast, tourists find havens of peace in the small towns of the Greek islands. Greece has more than 6,000 islands of widely varying sizes. In fact, almost half of its coastal landscape is made up of islands.

Diving, sailing, exploring coastal caves: the islands hold endless adventures. Among so much beauty, who wouldn’t want to light up and breathe in paradise?

Medical Cannabis in Greece

In 2017, Greece took a groundbreaking step by legalizing the cultivation and production of medical cannabis for specific medical purposes.

The legislation allowed the import, export, and production of medical cannabis products, subject to strict regulations and licensing. Patients with qualified medical conditions could access medical cannabis through a prescription from licensed healthcare professionals, overseen by the Greek National Medicines Organization.

Despite this progressive measure, some obstacles, such as bureaucratic difficulties and lack of transparency in distribution, have hindered patients’ access to medical cannabis.

The delay in the implementation of the program has been a point of contention, raising criticism from patients and advocates.

Decriminalization of Cannabis in Greece

Unlike some European nations, Greece has not decriminalized cannabis. Possession of cannabis for personal use can carry penalties, including prison sentences and fines, depending on the severity of the offense. However, first-time offenders may have the option of participating in counseling programs as an alternative to incarceration.

Legalization of Recreational Cannabis

Recreational cannabis remains illegal in Greece. Possession, cultivation, and distribution of cannabis for non-medical purposes are prohibited under Greek law.

Legality of Hemp and CBD

In contrast, Greece has embraced industrial hemp, allowing its cultivation and processing for industrial purposes. The law specifies that hemp must contain low levels of THC, no higher than 0.3% by dry weight.

CBD, derived from hemp and containing less than 0.2% THC, is legal in Greece, which has led to the proliferation of stores selling CBD products.

Domestic Cultivation And Future Prospects

Although the 2021 law allows medical cannabis cultivation for those with operating permits, personal cultivation for recreational use remains illegal. However, some online seed banks claim that Greek law does not explicitly prohibit the sale or purchase of cannabis seeds.

With the growing acceptance of cannabis, especially in Athens, where its use is one of the highest in Europe, Greece appears poised for further changes in cannabis legislation. Observers note that the trajectory suggests that it is not a question of whether Greece will further liberalize cannabis laws, but when it will do so.

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