Updated on January 30, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Greece is one of several countries in the European Union (EU) that has legalized medical marijuana. Through its program, Greece hopes to not only provide patients with high-quality medicine but also access to knowledgeable physicians who recognize this natural medicine’s use for a variety of conditions.
Following the legalization of medical cannabis in 2017, Greece began developing its medical marijuana program. The country, which does import some of its cannabis-based products and medicinal cannabis, also cultivates it through certified growers and producers.
Analysts expect that only edibles and extracts of cannabis will be available to patients, versus the actual dried flower. As a part of its program, Greece permits licensed physicians to prescribe medical marijuana, rather than recommend it. This approach indicates the country’s plan to incorporate medical cannabis into its existing health system, including its pharmacies.
Like many other countries, Greece supported the thriving hemp industry during the 19th century. It was also a prominent producer of hashish, better known as hash. Near the end of the 1800s, however, Greece outlawed hash, though its use continued until World War II.
In the years since, marijuana has remained illegal, though the courts have decriminalized its personal use. Following the country’s debt crisis, which began in 2010, legislators re-evaluated the nation’s stance on medical cannabis. In 2017, they legalized it and started efforts to establish a program.
Greece does not permit the cultivation of medical marijuana, except for certified commercial operations — however, growing recreational weed is not allowed under any circumstances. While Greece lets patients use medical cannabis, it has yet to define a carrying limit. For recreational users, possession is a punishable offense.
In 2008, Greece began exploring telemedicine services, starting with telemedicine legislation. Five years later, the country initiated efforts to build and complete an e-health ecosystem by 2020, providing patients the opportunity to connect with physicians across Greece.
Greece has a rather liberal medical marijuana program. Any condition may qualify for medical cannabis if your physician feels it will ease your symptoms and benefit you. The Ministry of Health, however, has emphasized certain conditions for medical marijuana treatment, including:
Whether minors qualify for medical cannabis in Greece is a gray area, which legislators may define later.
As Greece plans to incorporate medical marijuana into its healthcare system, it doesn’t seem likely they’ll use medical marijuana cards, though it’s possible. Instead, it appears they’ll utilize prescriptions instead to provide patients with access medical cannabis.
Some facts about medical marijuana in Greece include:
Penalties for recreational and medicinal marijuana have undergone many changes throughout the years, with Greece adopting a more lenient stance to personal use offenses — the courts determine whether a quantity is for personal or commercial use.
Examples of penalties often imposed include a five-month prison sentence for possession or consumption. Cultivating tends to feature harsher punishments. The courts may issue a five- to six-figure fine, as well as an eight-year jail sentence.
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