21 July 2016
Marijuana.com has reported that the Greek authorities are looking at the possibility of legalizing medical marijuana. Interestingly in 1890, Greece was one of the first countries to prohibit the use and cultivation of cannabis, citing an “imminent threat to society.” Penalties have been strict for over a century, only loosening slightly in recent years for possession of tiny amounts as little as 0.5g.
Here’s the report
In February, twenty members of a Greek left-wing political party called SYRIZA introduced an initiative that aimed to legalize the cultivation of hemp for medical applications. “The proven beneficial effect in cases of especially dangerous diseases, such as glaucoma, cancer, epilepsy, anorexia nervosa, malignancies make the legalization of cannabis as medicine — already used in many developed countries — imperative. The criminalization of cannabis use has resulted in leading many patients and their families to acquire cannabis through illegal channels, something that entails a substantial loss of revenue for the State, organized crime activities and pushing patients to report illegal activities,” the SYRIZA representatives contended. Greece’s Ministers of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights; Health; Economy; Development and Tourism; Agriculture and Food, Interior and Administrative Reconstruction all heard the proposal.
Just last month, SYRIZA put pressure on the Greek government once again, this time pitching the legalization of medical marijuana for possession and use. Thirty-six members of the leftist group pleaded with Minister of Health Panagiotis Kouroumblis on behalf of Greek patients all over the country that desperately seek marijuana reform. SYRIZA presented Kouroumblis with data from other European countries that had already legalized medicinal marijuana to show the potential benefits. The country of Greece has fallen on rough times financially the past few years, to say the least, so taking cues from countries like Germany, the UK, and Italy on marijuana reform may be one path out of the red. SYRIZA members argued, “The financial benefits of cultivation of our own cannabis in Greece for medicinal/pharmaceutical purposes and for use in research would be multi-faceted (rejuvenating our agricultural economy and processing, resumption of export of hemp products after many years of stagnation, strengthening insurance funds to escape the burden of expensive prescription pharmaceutical products.)”
The powers that be in Greece have finally answered the call of many and will form a “working group consisting of academics, psychiatrists, and scientific and legal advisers of the prime minister, health ministry and the justice ministry and members of patient associations, to initiate a discussion on the medical use of the cannabis.”
The group is tasked with analyzing how other countries have implemented medical marijuana legislation, developing best practices based on the findings, and proposing a medical marijuana system that could thrive in Greece. The team will submit their conclusions to Health Minister Kouroumblis by October 30, 2016.