Greece is hoping to tap into its nascent cannabis economy following the legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes in 2017 and the lifting of the prohibition into the growing of the plant in 2018.

The first two licenses for cannabis production were granted to private companies for the growing of medicinal cannabis last year and the Greek Ministry of Economy and Development has announced that more licenses will be offered 2019.

Greek Health Minister Andreas Xanthos, Alternate Economy and Development Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas and Greek Deputy Minister of Agricultural Development and Food, Vassilis Kokkalis, held a joint press conference to announce that 12 new licenses bringing up the total of medicinal cannabis producers in Greece to 14.

The government expects that the 14 licenses will create around 770 new jobs and bring in 185 million euros in investment.

Mr Pitsiorlas said that the Corinth-based Bioprocann SA and Larissa-based Biomecann SA – the first two recipients of the licenses – are expected to create 117 jobs and have an investment value of 22 million euros. He added that the first medicinal cannabis products would hit the market within a year or more. In the first instance, the industry will be mainly export-oriented with interest already shown from mainly Canada and Israel.

Cannabis is still considered an addictive substance, according to Greek Law. The granting of a license is only possible under strict terms and conditions.