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High Time for Marijuana to Make Mark in Greece, EU

Αssociated Press

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

ATHENS - As Greece is issuing licenses for growing medical mairjuana, cannabis has the potential to help lift the country, and the European Union, with economic growth through production of the fabled weed.

While more than half of European consumers (56 percent) are aware of the alternative legal uses of cannabis, just 16 percent have tried products containing cannabis, according to a survey conducted by New Frontier Data, reported Kathimerini.

Some 58 percent of those who used cannabis products did so just in the last six months through legal means as it’s still unlawful for sale and distribution in most countries unless otherwise specified and controlled.

The survey showed 40 percent of people who tried cannabis products were seeking pain relief and 31 percent for stress reduction and 74 percent who tried those products said they had a positive impact on their lives.

Prohibition Partners, a consultant on the international cannabis market, said the industry could become the biggest legal market in Europe in the next five years and bring a big boost in revenues otherwise going up in smoke.

Keen interest in Greece’s now-legal medical marijuana business – with 26 licenses approved so far – will bring more than 100 million euros ($110.78 million) in capital investments over the next three years, likely to grow even more.

That’s for the initial creation of sites in northern Greece to grow and process what’s called pharmaceutical cannabis products – marijuana – based on the number of licenses okayed by the economy and development ministry, said the business newspaper Naftemporiki.

It’s been mostly foreign companies looking to invest in the new business with seven units set up so far in central Macedonia, including four in the Kilkis prefecture, near the free-trade-type zone at the major port of Thessaloniki, the country’s second-largest city.

Combined with the availability of land need for the product’s the region is a prime spot for investors, the paper noted, with another point of export for future pharmaceutical cannabis products being the major port of Piraeus, one of the European Union’s busiest.

In August, speaking to Prohibition Partners, a spokesperson for the new New Democracy said the government is “very excited about the possibilities of medicinal cannabis” with the state actively “seeking international investment.”