Greece challenges Denmark in race to be Europe’s marijuana hub

Greece has received as many as 30 foreign investment applications for medical and industrial cannabis production worth approximately 350 million euros ($400 million), potentially setting up the country to be the European Union’s top supplier of medical cannabis in coming years.

While few of the licenses have yet to be approved, that value challenges Denmark’s total of 407 million Canadian dollars ($308 million) in investments received.

Greece’s general secretariat of industry has approved only two of the applications so far, according to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.

Two others were rejected while the remaining 26 – which accounts for roughly 11.8 million square feet of land – are pending approval.

In November, Greece awarded the first cultivation licenses to two privately owned companies, Biomecann and Bioprocann.

The Greek Legislature approved core legislation for medical cannabis in March 2018. Soon after, a joint ministerial decision defined the facility requirements and application process while the Ministry of Health outlined the market authorization process.

Currently, most of Europe’s medical cannabis comes from Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, which exports Sativex, a cannabis pharmaceutical product containing equal amounts of CBD and THC.

Canadian marijuana companies Aurora Cannabis, Aphria, ICC International Cannabis, The Green Organic Dutchman and Canopy Growth all have cultivation facilities under development in Denmark.

Also in the race to supply Europe are Portugal (home to Tilray’s European production center) and Israel, which passed its medical cannabis export law at the end of 2018.

The European Union’s three largest medical cannabis markets – Italy, the Netherlands and Germany – expect patient counts to more than double to a combined 225,000 this year, according to United Kingdom-based analytics firm Prohibition Partners.

Over the next 10 years, the total market for medical cannabis in the EU could surpass 58 billion euros.

To sign up for our weekly international cannabis business newsletter, click here.