• Medical cannabis products will finally be available to
  • Two licences have already been granted with a further 12 to be issued by the end of 2018
  • Millions of Euros are to be invested by pharmaceutical companies in Greece
  • 770 new jobs are expected to be created with this foreign investment
  • Medical cannabis will not be covered by State Health Insurance

Medical cannabis is finally coming to Greece, eight months after the Greek Government approved legislation which allowed the cultivation and production of medical cannabis in the country.

Greece’s Parliament has now issued the first two license to foreign pharmaceutical companies, permitting them to grow and process cannabis for medical purposes.

The announcement was made at the end of November in Athens by Greece’s Health Minister Andreas Xanthos, Deputy Agricultural Development Minister Vassilis Kokkalis and Deputy Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas.

 

Greece cannabis press conference

Deputy Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas, Health Minister Andreas Xanthos, Deputy Agricultural Development Minister Vassilis Kokkalis making the announcement that Greece’s first cannabis licenses have been issued

Discussing which pharmaceutical companies had been granted the first licenses, Pitsiorlas said:

“There is huge interest, mainly from Canada and Israel … some of them (potential investors) are huge.”

Pitsiorlas also explained that the first medicinal cannabis products were expected to be available to private patients in about 12-18 months’ time. He also disclosed that Greece’s medical cannabis industry was going to be mainly focused on exporting.

More than 750 jobs are expected to be created, representing more than €185 million in overall investment. The first two licenses have been granted to the provinces of Larisa in central Greece, and in Corinth in the Peloponnese.

There is huge interest, mainly from Canada and Israel … some of them (potential investors) are huge.
Deputy Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas

Just like in the UK, medical cannabis would not be subsidised through state health insurance schemes, meaning only those who can afford a potentially costly private prescription will be able to legally access the products. Whether this will remain the case or is just a first step towards wider legalisation remains to be seen.

Recreational cannabis will remain illegal and is not even under consideration by Greece’s Government.

Are we going to see more countries finally allow their citizens the basic right to choose in their health care over 2019? Which country will be next to legalise medical cannabis? Only time can tell.

References and further Reading