August 9, 2019

Greece green lights 26 medicinal cannabis licences

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Greece has approved 26 licences for cannabis cultivation and processing facilities in the country, the government has confirmed.

Speaking to Prohibition Partners, a government spokesperson said they are “very excited about the possibilities of medicinal cannabis” with the state actively “seeking international investment.”

The Kyriakos Mitsotakis administration, which was sworn in last month, hopes that new licences will eventually lead to around €360 million of investment and create up to 2,250 jobs. Greece’s unemployment level has remained the highest in the Eurozone, making potential foreign direct investment attractive to the new government.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Source: Bloomberg

(Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Source: Bloomberg)

In total, 72 applications have been made, with four official rejections, and a further 42 bids still to be determined. So far, no firm has gained all three licences required to begin production. However, optimism is building that businesses could be fully operational within the next 12 months.

Government approval

“There has been a change in government, but the new administration fully supports this type of initiative” said Costas Vamvakas the managing director of Athens-based VK PREMIUM consulting group. “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.”

Vamvakas said he expected investment to ramp up as firms from Canada, Israel, and the Netherlands look to partner with local businesses – a mix of local growers and new entrants.

“The market wants packaged dry flower, so expect a lot of high-THC production for medicinal use,” Vamvakas told Prohibition Partners. “The problem is there are some grey areas around THC production, and firms may require more explicit guidance from the government.”

Research from Prohibition Partners estimates that the European cannabis market could be worth up to €123 billion by 2028. Greece, with its ripe climate for production, is staking a bold claim to be a major player by fast-tracking interested parties.

Greece’s cannabis legislation

Greece legalised medical cannabis in 2017, and in March 2018 repealed a ban on cultivation and production. However, before any business can fully set up shop, they must obtain three separate licences.

First, they must establish a Greek company to buy or lease the land, and then prepare the documentation for the installation licence. The documentation includes selecting an appropriate patch of land on which to build a facility.

Once officials are satisfied, firms can apply for an operations licence and a medical licence, which are gained via approval from the National Organisation for Medicines.

The General Secretariat of Industry has released details of 14 licences in the Government Gazette. Another 12 are pending and have reportedly been sent to the National Printing Office for publication.

Here are the details of the 14 licences currently published:

14 Licences Currently Published

Economic recovery

Many believe the cannabis sector can help Greece recover from the sovereign debt crisis of 2009.

Former deputy economy minister Stergios Pitsiorlas told reporters last year that “the impact that medical cannabis could have on Greece’s struggling economy could be substantial.”

By 2028, the domestic medicinal cannabis industry could be worth €2 billion to the Greek economy, according to research compiled for The European Cannabis Report™.

While Greece’s liberalisation of its cannabis sector began under the former Syriza administration, the momentum has continued under the new regime as the country moves to capitalise on the emerging demand for medical cannabis across Europe.

Greece green lights 26 medicinal cannabis licences

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