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Albanian Parliament Approves Medical Cannabis Legalization Measure

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Albania’s Parliament recently approved a medical cannabis legalization measure. The bill, which appears to be a fairly general piece of legislation that is short on a lot of granular details, was approved by a 69-23 vote.

The successful medical cannabis legalization vote came amidst strong pushback from domestic cannabis opponents in Albania. The European nation has long served as a fairly difficult place to achieve reform due to the stigma surrounding the nation’s unregulated drug trade. Historically, Albania was a popular route for smuggling unregulated drugs, including unregulated cannabis.

Limited cultivation was approved as part of the measure, and that specific provision was subject to a particularly heavy focus by cannabis opponents who wished to keep full cannabis cultivation prohibition in place, regardless of the purpose of the proposed cultivation.

According to the Associated Press, when the left-wing Socialist Party government of Prime Minister Edi Rama took power in 2013 Albania’s government spent the next two years destroying illegal cannabis plants with “an estimated market value of 7 billion euros ($8.5 billion), more than two-thirds of the country’s annual gross domestic product at that time.”

While Albania remains a popular route for smugglers, and unregulated cannabis is still cultivated domestically, the war on cannabis is not at the fevered pitch that it was at roughly a decade ago. Albania would be wise to continue to work to modernize its medical cannabis policies, and hopefully, its adult-use cannabis policies as well.

Albania is home to a thriving cannabis community, albeit an unregulated one, and that is far from a new thing. That was very apparent in Season 3 of the hit cannabis reality show Growing Belushi in which famed entertainer and International Cannabis Business Conference speaker alumni Jim Belushi visited the country to discuss cannabis policy and industry.

Albania’s new law creates the ‘National Agency for the Control of Cannabis’ which will be tasked with overseeing the nation’s eventual legal medical cannabis industry.