Is Weed Legal In Greece?

In Greece, while medical cannabis is legal with a prescription, recreational use is banned, personal cultivation is prohibited, and despite the legality of medical use, patients face access challenges, leaving the future of cannabis legislation open to potential changes.

Is weed legal in Greece

The global discourse on cannabis laws is dynamic, reflecting diverse approaches by different nations. In Greece, this evolving narrative has shaped distinct policies over time. This article delves into Greece’s current legal framework regarding cannabis, mainly focusing on weed. 

Since 2017, Greece has legalized medical cannabis, acknowledging its therapeutic potential. However, the recreational use of cannabis remains illegal, underscoring the country’s cautious stance. Additionally, while personal cultivation of cannabis is prohibited, Greece distinguishes between recreational cannabis and industrial hemp, the latter being legal. 

This nuanced approach highlights Greece’s efforts to balance medical benefits with regulatory controls, reflecting the complexity and ongoing development of cannabis laws within the country.

Key Takeaways

  • Medical cannabis has been legal in Greece since 2017.
  • Recreational use of cannabis is still illegal.
  • Cultivation of cannabis for personal use is prohibited, but industrial hemp is legal.

Historical Overview of Cannabis Regulation in Greece

Cannabis regulation in Greece has undergone a significant transformation over the years. In 1890, Greece implemented a ban on the production and usage of hashish. Despite this prohibition, the use of cannabis increased following World War I, primarily due to Greek soldiers and refugees returning from Asia Minor, now part of Turkey, who brought the cannabis habit with them. However, this trend declined after World War II, largely due to the severe impact of the German occupation​​.

In a landmark shift, the Greek government legalized the use of cannabis for medical purposes in 2017. This was a significant departure from its historical stance on cannabis. The following year, 2018, marked another milestone when Greece lifted the ban on the cultivation and production of industrial cannabis. This legal amendment paved the way for pharmaceutical companies and industrial hemp suppliers to operate within Greece legally, signaling a new era in the country’s approach to cannabis regulation.​​

In Greece, medical marijuana is legally accessible, reflecting a progressive approach to cannabis for health purposes. 

Greek law allows medical professionals to prescribe various cannabis-derived products, excluding raw or dried forms. The potential future inclusion of edibles suggests an evolving landscape for patient-friendly options. However, Greece’s medical cannabis program lacks specific regulations, operating in a somewhat gray area. Notably, any medical condition may qualify for cannabis prescription, provided there’s evidence of its benefits. The Ministry of Health has identified conditions like epilepsy, cancer, MS, nausea, and HIV/AIDS as particularly suitable for treatment.

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Unlike some countries, Greece doesn’t issue medical marijuana cards. Instead, patients receive certification through a doctor’s prescription, eliminating the need for additional validation processes. Obtaining certification involves consulting a doctor, with no specialist requirement, making family doctors a viable option. This approach is rooted in thorough medical history analysis and is generally reserved for cases where other treatments have failed.

Telemedicine, legally recognized in Greece since 2008, further facilitates medical cannabis consultations, although practices may vary. This integration of telemedicine underscores Greece’s commitment to accessible healthcare, including for medical cannabis.

In Greece, the use of cannabis for recreational purposes is strictly illegal. The legal system imposes a minimum prison sentence of five months for possession of marijuana. Furthermore, smoking cannabis in public places is expressly prohibited. For first-time offenders, the Greek government offers an alternative to incarceration in the form of a counseling program. However, repeat offenses can result in fines or imprisonment.

As of 2023, there is no active debate in Greece regarding the legalization of recreational cannabis. The possession, cultivation, and distribution of cannabis for non-medical purposes are illegal under Greek law. Penalties vary based on the offense’s severity, with imprisonment ranging from 10 days to 5 years or a corresponding fine. This strict stance highlights the Greek government’s effort to control the use of cannabis within the country.

Possession, Cultivation, and Consumption: What’s Allowed in Greece?

In Greece, while medical cannabis is legal, recreational use remains prohibited. The laws governing possession, cultivation, and consumption are stringent. 

Personal cultivation of cannabis is illegal, underlining the government’s firm stance against recreational usage. However, an exception exists for industrial hemp, which is legally cultivated and processed under Greek Law. This type of hemp contains low levels of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. 

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It is primarily grown for industrial applications, such as fibers, oils, and other non-intoxicating products. This distinction underscores Greece’s approach to cannabis, recognizing its industrial and medical value while strictly regulating its recreational use.

What Future for Cannabis Legislation in Greece?

The future of cannabis legislation in Greece presents a complex and evolving picture. Cannabis use is prevalent, especially in urban centers like Athens and Thessaloniki. Surveys indicate a significant portion of the population, particularly among younger demographics, has engaged in cannabis use. This widespread use, coupled with historical ties to cannabis, suggests a societal inclination towards leniency.

Legalization efforts gained momentum with the 2017 legalization of medical cannabis and subsequent liberalization moves, such as the 2018 legalization of industrial cannabis cultivation. However, the cultivation of cannabis for personal use remains illegal, with only those possessing specific permits allowed to grow cannabis for medical purposes. Notably, the purchase or sale of cannabis seeds is not banned under Greek law.

Despite these developments, there appears to be a cautious approach towards recreational cannabis. A significant majority of Greek nursing students see the medical benefits of cannabis, but less than a quarter support recreational legalization. These attitudes, alongside the Deputy Minister for Agriculture’s call for the legalization of cannabis cultivation for personal use, indicate a slow but steady shift in perspectives. However, as of now, there’s no active movement towards legalizing recreational cannabis​​.

To Sum Up

Is Marijuana legal in Greece? The answer is nuanced. While medical cannabis is legal, and patients can access it with a prescription, recreational use is prohibited. Despite the legalization of medical cannabis, patients face challenges in accessing their medicine due to bureaucratic obstacles. The cultivation of cannabis for personal use remains illegal, but industrial hemp cultivation is legal. The future of cannabis legislation in Greece remains uncertain, but the ongoing conversation suggests potential changes in the future.

Rita Ferreira

Rita Ferreira

Rita is a seasoned writer with over five years of experience, having worked with globally renowned platforms, including Forbes and Miister CBD. Her deep knowledge of hemp-related businesses and passion for delivering accurate and concise information distinguish her in the industry. Rita's contributions empower individuals and companies to navigate the complexities of the cannabis world, and her work remains a valuable resource for those seeking a deeper understanding of its potential.

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