History and Cultural Significance
Cannabis has a long history in Greece dating back to the ancient times, where hemp was used for its fibrous properties in rope and textile manufacturing. In terms of recreational and medicinal use, the popularity of cannabis surged in the 20th century, particularly among the youth and counter-culture movements.
Legislation and Legal Status
Historically, Greece had strict laws against the use of cannabis. However, in recent years there have been changes towards a more liberal approach. As of my last update in September 2021, Greece had decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis, meaning that it’s treated as an administrative rather than a criminal offense.
Medical Use and Research
In 2017, Greece became the sixth EU country to legalize the use of medical cannabis. The government approved the use of cannabis-based products for a variety of medical conditions, including chronic pain, neuropathy, and epilepsy.
Illicit Production and Trade
Despite recent reforms, unlicensed cultivation and sale of cannabis remain illegal in Greece. The country is not a significant producer of cannabis on a global scale but does face challenges regarding local illicit production and the smuggling of cannabis from neighboring countries.
Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in Greece. The shift towards decriminalization and medical legalization reflects a broader global trend of prioritizing harm reduction and patient care over punitive drug policies.
Public opinion about cannabis is evolving in Greece, with growing acceptance of its medical uses. However, debates continue over potential full legalization, with arguments centered on potential public health risks and benefits, economic implications, and the impact on illicit drug trafficking.
As of 2023, the landscape of cannabis laws in Greece continues to evolve. While full legalization for recreational use is not yet on the horizon, the discussion around cannabis, its regulation, and its place in Greek society is ongoing. This discourse is likely to be influenced by developments in medical cannabis research, international trends, and Greece’s own experiences with decriminalization and medical use.