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Greek Official Calls for Marijuana Legalization

Chloé Harper Gold

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Greek Official Calls for Marijuana Legalization

On Greek TV, a Greek official calls for marijuana legalization for recreational purposes. The official in question is Yiannis Tsironis. He’s the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, originating from Greece’s Green Party. Yeah, we figured as much.

The Green in Greece

Like many other countries, our own included, Greek federal policy outlaws cannabis.

Despite the country’s history of producing hashish, authorities officially criminalized the plant in 1890. Although the cultivation and possession of hashish were illegal, Greek citizens continued to use it. Particularly after the first World War. Greek soldiers, as well as refugees from other countries, used cannabis. The prohibition was not particularly forceful or effective at that point.

Although cannabis (and other drugs) is still illegal in Greece, lawmakers have eased the policies regarding it.

The penalty for getting caught still may include jail time. But the courts recognize the difference between drug users and drug traffickers. Greek courts also make a distinction between cannabis and what they deem “dangerous drugs” like heroin.

This year, the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, thus becoming the latest European country to implement a nation-wide medical marijuana program. At the moment, weed is still illegal for recreational purposes.

But will it always be?

Recently, the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Yiannis Tsironis, stated his opinion that Greek lawmakers should fully legalize cannabis in the country. He even said that Greek citizens should be able to legally grow cannabis plant on their property.

Tsironis cited the drug abuse problem in Greece as a reason for his position to legalize marijuana. In the interest of harm reduction, Tsironis said that he wants addicts to be able to purchase drugs legally. And so, the Greek official called for marijuana legalization in his home country.

Final Hit: Greek Official Calls For Marijuana Legalization

Would something like this actually work?

While we can all agree that marijuana legalization, or at least decriminalization, would be absolutely positive, can we say the same of other drugs? It’s actually not the most outlandish idea.

In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drugs to combat the epidemic of addiction in their country. Instead of automatic jail sentences for those the police caught with drugs, courts handed out civil penalties and health interventions.

The result?

Deaths from drug overdoses plummeted. Addicts took advantage of the health interventions. Turns out that most people addicted to drugs don’t want to be.

Because we know that cannabis is non-addictive and not even in the same ballpark as harder drugs, decriminalization and legalization seems like an obvious route to go. Especially in the interest of public health and overcrowding in prisons, among other things. Tsironis has started the conversation and debate on cannabis legalization in Greece. It’s only the first step to real change, but still, it’s a step. Hopefully, Greece will legalize the plant, and hopefully, it will help alleviate some of the struggles of addiction in their country. At the very least decriminalization could be a good start to the social progress they seem to want to make.

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