US Company Kaya Plans Greece Medical Marijuana Bid

Αssociated Press

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

ATHENS- As Greece is licensing companies who want into the medical marijuana market in the country, the American company Kaya, which said it's the first to own and operate legal stores there, is making a bid to expand into Greece.

The proposed deal will see it take a 50% stake in Greekkannabis (GKC) through its majority owned subsidiary; Kaya Brands International, said the website CBD which reports on developments in the field.

GKC is an Athens-based listed company which is awaiting approval on a medical cannabis cultivation, processing and export license from the Greek government, with New Democracy picking up from the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA in reviewing license applications.

GKC plans to establish its cannabis cultivation and processing facility comprising 125,000-square feet of greenhouses to grow the product and said it's capable of more than 280,0000 pounds of flowers, annually, for distribution throughout Europe and other selected markets.

Kaya CEO Craig Frank said that since becoming the first U.S. public company to own and operate legal cannabis stores and farms, in 2014, it had “slowed its pace of growth,” looking for an uptick in Greece, eager for investments to spur recovery from a 9 1/2-year economic and austerity crisis.

He said this was to enable it to “gain operational experience in Oregon – one of the world’s most intense cannabis environments – and then expand operations’,” with Greece the best spot given its own interest in companies with experience.

The News Credit website reported the Greek government has approved 26 cultivation licenses for the cultivation and processing of cannabis for medicinal purposes. The new Greek government says it is looking for overseas investment with the aim of creating thousands of new jobs.

Keen interest in Greece’s now-legal medical marijuana business – with 26 licenses approved so far – will bring more than 100 million euros ($108.9 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 earlier.

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 New Democracy said the government was “very excited about the possibilities of medicinal cannabis” with the state wanting investors.