I wrote a post a few months back about the news that Greece was mooting moving into the medical marijuana business. This would involve quite a lot of legislative changes, and approval on a number of levels, so I was frankly not very optimistic about it passing through the various channels of government to actually become reality. And in the intervening several months, I’ve read nothing new on the subject, which didn’t really surprise me.
However, today I came across an article in ‘Bloomberg’ which intimated that the necessary legislation is imminent, and that it could swing into action by the end of the month! I find that hard to believe, to be honest, but they may well be spurred on by the fact that:
The Veroia site will create more than 2,000 jobs in the next two to three years, according to Georgios Zafeiris, chief executive officer at Golden Greece Holdings, the company responsible for coordinating the project’s group of 10 investors from countries including Canada, Kazakhstan, Poland and Israel. The first round of investment is seen at 400 million euros ($488 million), rising to more than 1.5 billion euros, and 80 percent of the jobs in areas like cultivation, trading and transport could go to Greeks.
Those are tempting figures to a government that is broker than broke. A powerful incentive to expedite the necessary steps sooner rather than later.
The other interesting part of the article was this:
While initial plans will focus on extraction, processing and packaging of medical marijuana, investors are also looking into an eventual recreational cannabis market in the country, provided the government opts for fuller legalization in the future, according to Blady. (My bold).
That really would be a departure from previous authority attitudes to weed, and signals massive earning potential for Greece. Can you imagine the uptick in tourism this would herald? But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. First, with the medical CBD product, there aren’t many countries that have the combination of climate, terrain and legislation to produce and legally export a consistent and high quality product, so there’s a large (and growing) market out there. [I think the USA, although it has the infrastructure in a few states to operate in a world market, and could undoubtedly be a world leader in the field, is hog-tied by federal law]. Secondly, if Greece legalised recreational use, they for sure would have a small but enthusiastic local market. But more importantly, once it became legal for recreational use in Greece, I believe that other countries would follow suit. Nobody wants to be the first to jump, particularly on a subject as controversial as marijuana, which has been subject to the same sort of misinformation and negative propaganda as tobacco has. But if a neighbouring country legalises it, and does so without dire consequences, then I think the appeal of all those extra taxes might just make those countries around it re-consider their marijuana laws. And if you want to legalise it, and tax it, then you need to control the supply. And if you have a fellow EU member next door who happens to be set up both legally and agriculturally be able to supply you with an abundance of quality gear, then it’s job done – nice and easy. Customs union, and all that.
And Greece would be laughing all the way to the bank.
One would imagine that once you have maybe two or three countries enjoying the fruits of legalisation, then the domino theory will start to take effect, further increasing Greece’s market.
There is salvation for Greece in this if the politicians are brave enough to grasp the nettle. Greece could go from being the pauper with the begging bowl to the svelte Southern Mediterranean businessman with the Cuban cigar and the expensive car.