The Greek government is exploring the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana as way of stimulating its economy – and investors have already pledged to pour 1.5billion euros into the scheme.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Evangelos Apostolou, the Greek Minister of Rural Development and Food, said that growers are pledging at least 1.5 billion euros into the development of ‘greenhouse parks’ for the cultivation of medicinal cannabis.

The Greek government have also indicated that they believe this could lead to a huge 200 billion euro share in the global medicinal cannabis market over the next decade.

Cannabis greenhouses

It is believed that a ‘campus’ of just 12 to 15 cannabis greenhouses could create more than 400 jobs – which would be welcome news to many Greek citizens, who have been subject to unemployment of over 20% for the last six years.

The political context

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is under heavy pressure to increase investment in the Greek economy and needs to hit a 2.5 percent growth target by 2018 in order for the country to exit a third bailout.

His government also have plans to relax the laws around medicinal cannabis over the next few months, with the first harvest expected next summer.

No plans for recreational legalisation – yet

Apostolou ruled out legalisation for recreational use, however. He insisted cultivation and sales will be strictly for medical purposes. He said:

“Thousands of Greek households with family members suffering from serious illnesses like cancer and Parkinson’s disease will be able to get drugs produced right here, under World Health Organization guidelines.”

However, if the plan goes well economically – and given the huge tax receipts in places such as Colorado, where weed is also legal for recreational use – similar legislation across Greece may not be too far away.