As cannabis firms divvy up the cannabis production map of continental Europe, a new player on the Eurocannabis scene is starting to make waves. If not establish itself.
As of October 9, Greece has now issued its first medical production license. The Greek government has, as a result, now issued cultivation permission to the intriguingly Canadian-Uruguayan producer ICC. ICC controls 16 acres of land in the northern part of the country. The property will house three cultivation and extraction structures with a total footprint of 97,000 square feet.
Greece approved the cultivation of medical cannabis in only March 2018. Five international consortiums, who stand to invest as much as USD$ 1 billion, have already applied for licenses.
ICC is also not the only firm about to start cultivation. Hexo, a Canadian LP, in cooperation with Greek partner Qannabos, plans to build a 350,000 square foot facility in the short term. Greece also represents Hexo’s first European expansion strategy outside of Canada, where they are an established low-cost producer with 310,000 square feet under cultivation and a million more planned.
Why is this significant? Apart from the speed at which all of this developing. Compared to Germany, for example, which approved the cultivation of cannabis in March last year, domestic cultivation has yet to begin, with some rumours putting German production back to late 2019 if not 2020.
Yet unlike Germany in particular, the Greek government is supporting a production environment and foreign investment into the cultivation business to help rescue an economy that is still recovering from massive debt defaults caused by the financial crisis in 2008.
The Greek scenario represents another intriguing avenue for economic development still off the table in every European country except possibly Holland. The possibility of a massive tourist industry based on cannabis. Except, unlike the Dutch experiment, the Greek market is still only medical…for now.
Tourism, particularly from older Europeans (55+), including Germany and the UK, is a major industry. Tourists from Scandinavian countries, including Denmark, Norway and Sweden is also up over 10% this year. Add to that the reciprocity of health insurance for visitors with a European passport and Greece could well become the hottest cannabis travel destination in the EU.
Nevada, it should be remembered, was the first U.S. state to create a reciprocal “medical tourist visa” to encourage American patients to medicate while they visited..
Greece is certainly setting itself up to go in that direction, with the additional benefit that it stands to benefit significantly from the additional revenue of medical cannabis exports to the rest of the continent.
For that reason, Greek cultivation could well come to rival Spanish and Portuguese production as one of the major sources of medical cannabis for European patients – even when they stay at home.
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