By Emily Ledger
The Greek government has granted 26 licenses in relation to the planned new medical Cannabis industry in the country. The licenses are a part of the process to allow foreign companies to open Cannabis growing and processing facilities in the country.
The Kyriakos Mitsotakis administration has pushed forward on the previous government’s liberalisation of Cannabis laws, after being sworn in last month. The Prime Minister has made clear a desire to work with foreign investors to build a thriving industry, which could bring €360 million, and up to 2,250 jobs to the country.
Medical Cannabis was legalised in Greece in 2017. A year later, in 2018, the ban on growing and producing Cannabis was lifted – attracting foreign interest. Since the legislation changes, 72 applications have been made for Cannabis production, and four have been rejected.
No companies have, as yet, acquired all three necessary licenses to begin production. However, it is widely expected that businesses will be operating in the next 12 months.
Costas Vamvakas, Managing Director of Athens-based VK PREMIUM consulting group told Prohibition Partners, has said:
“The country needs cash, and this is pure foreign direct investment. Ministers have told me explicitly they fully support the medicinal cannabis industry and will do everything to back it”.
The three licenses necessary to begin production involve an installation license. To acquire this, investors must first establish a Greek company, in order to buy or lease land. Following this, they will need to apply for operations and medical licenses.
Many in the country believe that a new Cannabis industry could massively benefit the economy. Greece has been dealing with the effects of the economic crisis for over nine years. It is also struggling with unemployment – with the highest rate in Europe.
Former deputy economy minister Stergios Pitsiorlas said:
“the impact that medical cannabis could have on Greece’s struggling economy could be substantial.”
According to The European Cannabis Report by Prohibition Partners, the European Cannabis market could be worth €123 billion by 20218. By this time, the same report estimates that Greece’s domestic medicinal Cannabis market could be worth €2 billion.