Europe Cannabis News Roundup
Several European nations have already legalized the use of medical cannabis, but this year is off to a good start as more developments signal the green light. Perhaps one day in the near future, Europe could be the biggest cannabis market in the world.
Greece Expected To Legalize Medical Cannabis
On Sunday, Greek agricultural development minister Yannis Tsironis told the AFP that the parliament is expected to approve medical cannabis use within the next few weeks. Tsironis also added that the development would be beneficial in attracting more investors into Greece.
“In a few weeks’ time, an amendment will be brought to the parliament to define the legislative framework for the cultivation and manufacturing of pharmaceutical products on medical cannabis, which will open the way for Greek and foreign investments,” said Tsironis. According to him, legalizing medical cannabis could mean the pouring of up to as much as $1.8 to 2.4 billion in investments, considering that Greek as well as Israeli and Canadian companies having already expressed interest.
Tsironis attended Greece’s first ever medical cannabis trade fair last weekend held near Athens, together with other government officials. The trade fair was attended by more than 100 local and foreign companies. In 2017, the Greek government allowed the importation of several cannabis-based pharmaceutical products and industrial hemp cultivation.
Denmark Inks Joint Venture With Canadian Company Aurora Cannabis
Canadian cannabis company Aurora Cannabis Inc. just announced that they would ink a deal with Alfred Pedersen & Son, a Danish tomato and pepper producer, to sell cannabis in Europe. Canada is expected to legalize recreational cannabis by July 2018 or even sooner, and once that happens they will be the second country in the world to do so just after Uruguay.
But why a tomato and pepper producer? Because both are typically grown in greenhouses, and it’s easy for cultivators to replicate the same growing model for weed because they all share similar grow requirements.
Aurora Cannabis will own a majority of the deal, and will sell cannabis in Scandinavian nations: Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Finland through Aurora’s German operations. The new company, called Aurora Nordic Cannabis A/S, will establish a production facility which can harvest as much as 120,000kg of cannabis annually. Alfred Pedersen & Son was granted a license to grow cannabis on January 1, by Denmark’s Medicines Agency for a four-year trial.
Shortage of Cannabis In Italy
In December, Italy has reported a shortage of medical cannabis, since they no longer have enough medical cannabis plants for patients. Because of this, patients have had to resort to “black market and self-cultivation”. Last November, the Italian ministry of defense, the agency overseeing the cultivation of medical cannabis, had to seek international sources to obtain an extra 100 kilos of cannabis.
The Netherlands Is Experimenting With Regulation Of Growing Cannabis To Cut Out Criminals
For several decades, the Netherlands’ infamous coffee shops have been an international tourist draw because they sell cannabis. This isn’t legal, and for some time the Dutch government restricted coffee shop visits to Dutch nationals only although in general coffee shops aren’t obeying this law, and the cops turn a blind eye. But the irony is that they coffee shops can’t grow their own pot.
So where do Dutch coffee shops get their pot? The black market. However, this kind of “economy” can open the doors for abuse, primarily for harder drugs. “Production now is dominated by organized crime syndicates,” says Paul Depla, a mayor for Dutch city Breda. “We have got a bankrupt system.”
The only way around this is to legalize cannabis production. A Guardian article reported that that this solution appealed to “at least 30 companies” all of whom have expressed interest in growing cannabis for the Netherlands’ coffee shops – with government approval. Starting this year, around 10 regional governments in the nation will try out regulated cannabis production, then report their findings to the central government. If all goes well, the government may authorize adoption of domestic cannabis cultivation throughout the nation. The government allowed medical firms and companies to cultivate cannabis, which will get rid of coffee shops but allow customers to purchase their pot online, which is a model similar to what some of the United States and Canada already has.