Last week, Greece’s Parliament voted to approve a bill that would allow for the cultivation and sale of medical cannabis. Greece joins several other countries in legalizing medical cannabis in some capacity for patients with qualifying conditions. The other countries include: Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK.
The bill is titled “Production, extraction and distribution of final products of pharmaceutical cannabis of the species Cannabis Sativa L, containing over 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).”
Medical cannabis in Greece would be industrial hemp in the US. The medical cananbis contains less than 0.3 percent Delta 9. No qualifying conditions are available at this time, but the bill would require a prescription from a licensed physician for anyone who wants to purchase medical cannabis.
Medical experts in Greece as well as the European Union expressed caution on legalization. They suggest that cannabis use helps to relieve the symptoms of chronic pain, glaucoma, and multiple sclerosis (MS). They also warn against regular use of medical cannabis due to its addictive and psychoactive properties.
While the final vote on the medical cannabis legalization bill came to 158-33, there were protests among several different political parties. The bill saw rejection from the Communist Party of Greece, Greek Solution party, and the MeRA25 party, also called the European Realistic Disobedience Front. The members of these parties don’t have large numbers, but their objection became heard.
SYRIZA is the second largest political party in Greece. They ended up abstaining their vote on the bill in protest of the roll-call vote. While they called for it, the SYRIZA group argued the vote couldn’t be a factual vote. It hadn’t been conducted in person. The vote conducted virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Another political party, the Movement for Change (KINAL) party, initially said that they would support the medical cannabis legalization bill. However, they also chose to abstain their vote with SYRIZA. The party also said when a political party doesn’t participate and a vote continues, it undermines the parliamentary process.
Only time will tell if the medical cannabis bill could be challenged. KINAL made it clear that the vote goes against parliamentary processes established in Greece. But for now, medical cannabis is legal for those with a prescription.
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