In July 2017, a joint ministerial resolution by the Ministers of Health and Justice approved medical weed in Greece. The next year, Greek lawmakers passed legislation allowing the cultivation and processing of medical cannabis containing up to 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), followed in 2021 by legislation that made medicinal weed legal in Greece.
Greece, known as the cradle of Western civilization and noted for its thousands of magnificently scenic islands and culinary pleasures, has long been one of Europe’s most influential and adored countries. Many of you considering a trip to Athens or those beautiful islands may wonder, “Is weed legal in Greece?”
Don’t worry… we’ve got you covered.
Possession and use of weed in Greece
Unfortunately, recreational marijuana is still banned in Greece, even though medicinal cannabis was legalized in the country in 2017. While Greek government policy was formerly fiercely hostile to the plant, there have been numerous modifications to the legality of weed in Greece in recent years.
The Greek Drug Law was enacted in 1987, with the command that anyone discovered to be involved in the consumption, possession, or distribution of illegal narcotics (including cannabis) would face jail. This includes even those caught with tiny amounts of cannabis for personal use. While remaining very stringent compared to other European countries, Greek cannabis laws were revised in 2013, decreasing punishments while preserving its criminal status.
While many interpreted the amendments as a putative relaxation of the regulations, anyone caught with even a modest amount of marijuana now faces a five-month prison sentence.
Furthermore, for the offense not to be recorded in permanent criminal records, the offender must not commit the “crime” again for five years. Furthermore, prison sentences may be suspended if the examining judge suggests that the criminal join a treatment program.
This is determined by the amount of cannabis involved in the offense and the offender’s circumstances. While Greek cannabis regulations are not as draconian as they once were, the country remains one of the tightest regarding recreational marijuana rules in Europe.
What Greek law permits medical patients?
Patients who want to use medicinal cannabis must first obtain a prescription from a presiding physician.
The Health Ministry declared in a statement following the passage of Greece’s medical marijuana law that cannabis treatments are effective in circumstances where there are established therapeutic benefits, such as chronic pain, neuropathic pain, nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, or cachexia.
HIV/AIDS and epilepsy are other illnesses for which Greek patients can seek medicinal cannabis authorization.
However, the initiative has been stalled due to bureaucratic paralysis, and patients in the country can still not receive cannabis through a centralized distribution system.
According to a June 2021 report, Panaxia Labs Israel’s medicinal cannabis will be marketed and delivered in Greece to treat some health issues, including neuropathic pain and spasticity, a condition caused by Multiple Sclerosis.
According to Health Minister Andreas Xanthos, medical cannabis will not be sponsored through state health insurance plans.
Despite the passage of the medical cannabis law, Greek patients and supporters have been harshly critical of the Greek government and the program’s access challenges.
Growing Cannabis in Greece
Growing cannabis is prohibited in Greece, and regardless of whether a cultivator’s objectives are for personal consumption or supply, prison sentences are routinely meted out, even to first-time offenders. Those detected producing a small number of cannabis plants face a penalty that is likely similar to that of being caught in possession.
However, punishments for people accused of cultivating to supply, like those stated above, are substantially harsher.
Is CBD legal in Greece?
While CBD is not extensively used in Greece, it is gaining popularity. This is primarily due to a change in the law governing medicinal use. It is permissible to buy or sell CBD oil if it is derived from EU-certified plants.
THC levels in CBD oil must not exceed 0.2%. THC is the psychoactive component in cannabis that causes the “high,” and such a small amount has little impact.
Be aware that the law governing the purchase or sale of CBD oil is a notoriously ‘grey area’ in many European nations. As a result, CBD oil should only be purchased from a reliable source.
Can cannabis seeds be sent to Greece?
The sale, purchase, and possession of cannabis seeds are legal in Greece. It is also lawful to send them over the mail. Cannabis seeds are now prohibited from being used. For example, you are not permitted by law to germinate or use them for cultivating plants.
Medicinal cannabis in Greece
Greece became the sixth EU country to legalize the medical use of cannabis in 2017. “From now on, the country is turning a page,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said, adding that Greece is now among the countries where the delivery of medical cannabis to people in need is permitted.
Furthermore, the plant was demoted from a Class A to a Class B drug. This emphasized the Greek government’s changing stance on the legality of weed in Greece.
It was unknown at this point how pharmaceutical businesses would cultivate cannabis for medical applications. The government passed another law the next year, allowing the production of medicinal cannabis.
This is significant for medical patients in Greece and the country’s economy as a whole. Its warm environment is suitable for cannabis development and could financially benefit Greece.
Industrial hemp in Greece
The country can now legally cultivate industrial hemp according to a 2018 law that allows for the development and cultivation of cannabis plants. Hemp can be used for many things, including building and textiles, as well as paper and biodegradable plastic. The plants employed, as with any other kind of cannabis production, must contain less than 0.2% THC.
Greece’s political parties and cannabis
In the past, Greece’s major parties have frequently taken a strong approach to cannabis regulations. This has evolved dramatically in recent years. The use and manufacturing of medicinal cannabis in Greece were allowed by the coalition government in 2017, with numerous centrist parties voting in favor of the measure.
New Democracy, Golden Dawn, the Communist Party, and the Centrist’s Union all opposed it. New Democracy emphasized that they recognized the benefits of medical cannabis but opposed the government’s approach. They believed the new legislation did not protect against uncontrolled manufacturing and distribution.
The Communist Party reacted even more forcefully to the decision. They urged the government to reverse its decision, claiming it would open the door to “murderous multinationals.”
If you are planning a trip to Greece (or already live there), you should be aware of a few instructions, such as; Even if you have a medical prescription from another nation, travelers are not permitted to bring weed or marijuana goods into Greece. Despite being legal, the sale of medical cannabis has yet to be established.