Medicinal Marijuana Legalized In Greece

By Charles Hartwell

On July 30th, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of the Syriza party officially announced the legalization of medicinal marijuana in Greece. Tsipras specified that professionals will be legally allowed to prescribe marijuana to patients who are in need of the plant’s health benefits.

“From today, the country turns a page, as Greece is now included in the countries where the granting of medical cannabis for patients in need is legitimate,” Tsipras stated in front of the Greek Ministry of Health.

It was also included that marijuana is removed from the Type A drug category in Greece. Type A is the equivalency to the Schedule I category in the United States. This means that the drug has no known medicinal properties of any kind. Although legal for medical purposes in some states, marijuana is still categorized as a Schedule I drug in America.

The announcement comes about a year after Greek Health Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis met with 36 members of the leftist Syriza party. Syriza collected information and statistics from other European Union nations that already legalized medicinal marijuana, to present to the Health Minister Kouroumblis. It was decided that a team of doctors and researchers would discuss the possibility of medical marijuana uses in the country. Greece is now the sixth country within the European Union to legalize medicinal marijuana, after the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Spain, Finland, and Portugal.

Most will speculate that the country is scrambling to find methods that will help clean up its economy. It is common for suffering countries to mimic successful ones that surround them. Also, Greece has been dealing with harsh financial issues, primarily stemming from the financial crisis of 2007-08. In 2010, it was discovered that affairs with Goldman Sachs left Greece misreporting financial statistics and hiding debts. Later, in 2015, Greece became the first developed country to be incapable of repaying a loan from the International Monetary Fund. Most recently, in February, the Greek finance ministry reported that the government debt load increased by 2.65 billion euros the previous quarter, now totaling an agonizing debt load of nearly 230 billion euros!

Considering these incidents and hefty bailouts along the way, Greece’s debt relief options are becoming severely limited. Without further leniency from Eurozone, the IMF, or even neighboring countries, Greece’s resources are only thinning and shriveling dry.

Whether the decision comes from desperation or following by example isn’t relevant, however. The value in the legalization of weed in Greece will be determined by a strengthened economy and healthier citizens.