The bill, which was proposed by the main opposition party Syriza, got 158 votes for and 33 against. The bill passed this Friday, 21st May, 2021.
Although the vote passed, it was rejected by the Communist Party of Greece, Greek Solution (Elliniki Lisi), and MeRA 25, the economist Yanis Varoufakis’ party. Syriza itself also abstained from the roll-call vote as a protest to the fact that it was not held in person.
The bill is labelled “Production, extraction and distribution of final products of pharmaceutical cannabis of the species Cannabis Sativa L, containing over 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),” and was originally submitted by the Development & Investment Ministry.
This is not the first time a medical cannabis bill was introduced to Greece, home of the oldest democracy in the world. The Deputy Minister of Development and Investment, Nikos Papasthanasis, defended the bill against critics from the main opposition party Syriza which called it “cowardly and timid.”
Papathanasis argued the new bill is superior in his opinion to the 2018 medical cannabis bill Syriza had passed which in his eyes was truly “cowardly and timid.” The 2018 bill was never implemented.
Papathanasis also said, according to reporting in The Greek Reporter, that this bill would allow results to be seen very quickly, as it helps expedite the process of getting licenses for medical cannabis production in Greece. There are two separate licenses one must obtain in order to cultivate cannabis which is called: the Installation Permit and the Operating Permit.
New Democracy spokesperson Christos Kellas lauded the law saying the law is “an integrated framework for the development of the cannabis industry in our country, from which we expect that there will be benefits for Greece’s economy through investments and the creation of new jobs.”
According the Kellas, the bill will offer “new options in the fields of agriculture and processing, but most importantly, to those who use the final products of medical cannabis. Medical cannabis can relieve their diseases and help them respond better to treatments, if this is deemed necessary by the treating physicians.”