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North Macedonia Is Making Waves On The Edge of Europe Over Recreational Cannabis Reform

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The former Yugoslavian country just north of Greece is clearly making a major play for its domestic cannabis industry

North Macedonia is eyeing Amsterdam right now – and in a big way. Namely, using the Dutch city as one of their templates for implementing recreational cannabis reform nationally.

The current legislative proposal, endorsed by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev last week, is designed to give a boost both to the growing certified domestic cannabis market and tourism.

Canna cafes in the Balkans anyone?

The idea is not a slam dunk. Zaev is willing to retreat if the populace is opposed to the idea. But, like Croatia, the country is willing to engage in a public debate and further one which integrates the cannabis industry into the mainstream in ways still unseen widely across Europe.

North Macedonia has a domestic medical market and has since 2016. However, multiple problems have plagued the vertical ever since. As of now, the country cannot export flower (only extract) for the medical market.

Cannabis As Economic Green New Economy Development

Increasingly countries in this part of the world (see Greece) are considering cannabis as the economic development tool they are lacking. The highly specialized pharmaceutical knowledge that has led to market development in many countries at this point, is also now seen as possibly too restrictive for the full-blown industry to develop fully – starting with integrating the drug into health care paradigms that are still, far from commercial if not profit-generating.

In every market, including Israel, the less than accepting attitude of doctors, as well as the lack of coverage from insurers, means that patients are not getting nearly enough access through this channel – also affecting the development of the specific medical industry so far.

The development of a highly encouraged, government-supported recreational industry will do much to solve the problem – even if “all” it does is legalize the ability of patients to obtain product in other ways. Not to mention keeps recreational users out of jail.

As the world begins to face a world where the threat of Covid has receded, but the economic damage caused by the same is ever-present, cannabis as an economic development tool is likely to get more advocates – globally.

North Macedonia’s new direction, indeed, maybe the shape of things to come – and in many markets, including the European Union as a region – which Macedonia is also still angling to join.

The International Cannabis Business Conference returns to Europe in 2021. Stay tuned.

North Macedonia