Greece joined the legal weed party by becoming the sixth European country to legalise the medicinal use of cannabis.
The road to legalisation in the country was hard-won. The restrictive laws around the drug were implemented as early as 1890, and only began to loosen in 2013 when it became legal to grow varieties of the plant containing no more than 0.2% THC. However, it took until April 2016 for the conditions of this new law to be announced and implemented.
Just a few months after that, the Greek Ministry of Health announced that a panel of academics, psychiatrists and other experts would discuss the possibility of legalising cannabis for medicinal use. In April 2017, the Ministry announced it was working on measures that would allow doctors to prescribe cannabis for certain conditions. And here we are today, with legal medicine and the hint of a path towards further legalisation.
As it stands now, cannabis will be reclassified from Table A—the most restrictive category of narcotics, which includes heroin, LSD and MDMA—to Table B, a category that includes methadone, cocaine and opium. The reclassification means that the state can potentially give licenses for cultivation in the near future, but nothing about this has been announced yet. In the meantime, the country will allow the import of cannabis-based medicines as the framework for cultivation becomes established.
Looking ahead, it would make sense for Greece to push legalization as far as it can go. The country is in need of an economic boost, and with the climate in the country perfect for cultivation (not to mention a long history of it), Greece could be looking at a huge moneymaking opportunity. But one step at a time. For now, rejoice that yet another country has recognised the medicinal merits of the plant, and hope the rest soon follow.
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