An important step for medical marijuana legalization was made today in Greece. The Greek parliament approved the first draft of the bill for the legalization of medical cannabis products. The bill was introduced by the governing party (SYRIZA) and was supported by the majority of the house (Potami, Independent Greeks, Democratic Alliance). The Greek Communist Party voted against it and asked for its withdrawal, along with the far-right group Golden Dawn and the opposition party of New Democracy.
New Democracy claims that, although they don't necessarily disagree with medical cannabis, they believe the bill is still a long way from being ready. A spokesperson stated that, under its current state, the government supports "massive and uncontrollable cannabis cultivation that may be used as an excuse for a future recreational legalization."
The Greek Communist Party is traditionally the biggest opposer of legal cannabis. GCP spokesman Manolis Syntichakis stated that the government is committing a crime against Greece's youth, sacrificing them for the profit of a few investment groups.
However, even MPs that voted for the bill were quick to note that it is incomplete and does not take into account the number of licenses that will be distributed. A member of parliament and staunch cannabis supporter, Grigoris Psarianos, pointed out that the bill is not clear on many things, regarding patients, investors, and cultivators.
The bill is not good because it is too limited. It does not take significant steps and makes things unclear, Psarianos commented. "What we finally vote for must have all the necessary provisions for all interested parties under no uncertain terms".
Limited or not, this marks a big day in modern Greek history, as a country that was always suspicious of cannabis now takes steps forward. Many are seeing the investments in marijuana as a way out of the debt crisis that continues to plague Greece.
While the bill is still some way of being finalized, we say that Greek politicians should learn from the mistakes that other countries like the USA did when legalizing cannabis. Creating an environment that makes both medical users and cannabis investors secure, will guarantee the optimal implementation of the program.