ATHENS - It’s still unlawful in Greece - apart from medical use - but the marijuana industry is set to take off after the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA government authorized six licenses for companies to cultivate the product
Some 50 applications for licenses have been submitted, three of which are in the final stages of approval said the business newspaper Naftemporiki, adding that the 56 total potential operations could bring in 590 million euros ($663.10 million) in revenues.
The new industry could also create 3,500 jobs during a still-running more than nine-year-long economic and austerity crisis with the government, apart from hard-core elements who don’t want foreign businesses, seeking more outside investors.
After demonizing marijuana, fining and jailing people for its use, more countries now are turning toward the weed, as it’s called, because it’s seen as a lucrative source of more money, one of the reasons Greece finally okayed it for medical purposes.
With a far-left government and a youthful population known for disdaining the law, Greece is seen by companies investing in marijuana’s future as the perfect place to cultivate customers too.
“It’s the European California,” James Ickes, Managing partner for Devcann, an Ohio-based company that is investing €12 million ($13.7 million) to cultivate, process and export medical and industrial cannabis in the country told The Wall Street Journal.
“Greece is a pioneer, as it’s one of the few countries that offers the opportunity to export, and the location is great: a pathway to Europe and the Middle East,” Ickes said.
Greece legalized cannabis for medical use in 2017 and lifted a ban on growing and producing it in 2018. Medical-cannabis use is currently allowed in nine countries in Europe, but more are considering following suit.