Greece legalised cannabis for medical use last year and in March
lifted a ban on growing and producing it. Two licences were granted
on Monday, and another 12 will be issued by the end of this year,
the Economy and Development Ministry said.
"There is huge interest, mainly from Canada and Israel ... some of
them (potential investors) are huge," Stergios Pitsiorlas, the
deputy economy minister, told a news conference.
Legalising cannabis for recreational purposes is not under
consideration, Pitsiorlas said in response to a question.
Pitsiorlas said the first medicinal cannabis products were expected
to hit the market in about 12-18 months time. The industry was
mainly export-oriented, he said.
Thousands of patients in Greece are thought to use cannabis for a
range of serious medical conditions, though authorities don't have
Several countries, including Britain, Germany, Italy and Denmark,
already allow the prescription of medicinal cannabis, and in June
Canada became the second country in the world, after Uruguay, to
fully legalise marijuana, ending a 90-year ban.
[to top of second column]
Under Greece's licensing system, medicinal cannabis products would
be available on prescription from chemists. It would not be
subsidised through state health insurance schemes, Health Minister
Andreas Xanthos said.
The first licensed cannabis hothouses will be in Larisa in central
Greece, and in Corinth in the Peloponnese. The 14 licences were
expected to create more than 750 jobs and represented about 185
million euros ($212.05 million) in investment.
"Our message is that the country is open for investments," said
Vassilis Kokkalis, deputy minister of agriculture.
(Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
[© 2018 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2018 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.