Greece Legalizes Medical Marijuana

Greece Legalizes Medical Marijuana

By Victoria Kim 07/07/17

Greece joins six other European Union countries that have approved some form of medical cannabis.

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Demonstration in central Athens on the occasion of the Global Marijuana march, an annual rally demanding the legalization of marijuana and changes in drug policies.
A demonstration in central Athens demanding the legalization of marijuana and changes in drug policies.

Greece is “turning its page” on drug policy—by allowing qualified citizens to access medical cannabis. Greek officials made the announcement at a June 30 press conference, The Independent reported.

“Greece is now included in countries where the delivery of medical cannabis to patients in need is legal,” according to Greece’s Government Gazette.

Now that the government has reclassified cannabis from Table A to Table B, it’s now possible for certain patients to legally access cannabis products for medical purposes. This is like moving cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II under the United States’ Controlled Substances Act. 

Schedule I or Table A is the most restrictive classification of drugs, reserved for substances deemed by the government as the most dangerous, with a high potential for abuse and no medical value. In the U.S., cannabis is still classified under Schedule I, alongside heroin and LSD.

Oxycodone (OxyContin), methadone, and methamphetamine are in Schedule II, a less restrictive category though the drugs are still considered dangerous.

Greece can now import cannabis products from other countries, like Canada and the United States. Qualifying conditions designated by the Ministry of Health so far include chronic or neuropathic pain, nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, and some eating disorders, among others, according to Leafly.

“From now on, the country is turning its page, as Greece is now included in countries where the delivery of medical cannabis to patients in need is legal,” said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Greece joins six other European Union countries that have approved medical cannabis in some form: the Czech Republic, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and most recently, Germany, whose law went into effect this past March to help “critically ill” citizens. 

Another country that approved medical cannabis in June is Mexico, where the new law passed through the legislature with overwhelming support.

Greece has a long history of strict anti-drug laws, but the debt-ridden country is now moving in a different direction. The government legalized the cultivation and processing of hemp in April, “ending 60 years of prohibition of the traditional, non-psychoactive plant,” Leafly reported at the time. 

Hemp is known for having low THC levels, which means it doesn’t produce a high. Hemp can be processed into a number of useful products including paper, textiles, clothing, plastics, biofuel, and food.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr

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