Often referred to as the “cradle of Western civilization,” Greece has become the latest European country to legalize cannabis for medical purposes. By doing so, Greece is the sixth country in the European Union have legalized it, following the Czech Republic, Finland, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
Greece joins the legal medical cannabis market
In a press briefing, the country’s Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, said that doctors will soon be able to prescribe the drug for a variety of medical conditions.
From now on, the country is turning its page, as Greece is now included in countries where the delivery of medical cannabis to patients in need is legal.
Mr. Tsipras also announced that cannabis would be downgraded from a Table A drug, the equivalent to a Schedule I drug in the United States, to a Table B drug. That now puts it in the same category as drugs such as methadone and opium, which also have approved medical values.
With cannabis legalized, the next step is just how it will be cultivated and distributed, which is still to be clarified by Mr. Tsipras and his left-wing party. Although, as it allows the creation of a legal drug industry (and allow the import of cannabis-based medicines once the framework for cultivation has been fully established), the new law could give a boost to the country’s economy, meaning that it will be fast-tracked.
While it is an extremely positive move forward, it still is yet to be seen whether Greece will take the next step, which is legalization of recreational cannabis, too. If it does, it will be one of two Europeans countries that have done so, the other being Portugal.
The legalization of medicinal cannabis in Greece is a huge step forward, especially since the country has always had extremely restrictive laws on its use, having implemented laws that prohibited its sale and use in 1890 (prior to that, the country once had a large export industry of hashish, which originated from the Peloponnese region of southern Greece).
But it was July 2016 when the Greek Ministry of Health announced that a panel of academics, psychiatrists, and other experts would discuss the possibility of legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes. Then, in April 2017, the Ministry stated measures were on their way that would allow doctors to prescribe cannabis for certain conditions, which marked yet a significant step on the path to legalization of cannabis in Greece.
Now, which country will be next to legalized medical or recreational cannabis?