Tracing its roots back to the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis, the Greek government debt crisis has turned into a seemingly never-ending recession in which more and more Greek businesses go bankrupt while the country’s job market and the laid-off citizens that once held those jobs suffer. That said, financial instability in Greece goes back further than 2008.
As stated by the Council on Foreign Relations, “Since the creation of the European Union in 1992 and the subsequent launch of the euro, Greece’s economic relationship with the rest of Europe has been a turbulent one.”
May 2010 marked the first bailout for Greece, with a $147 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund and E.U., with Germany providing the largest portion. In order to secure the loan, Greek Prime Minister Papandreou committed to austerity measures, including major spending cuts and tax increases.
In February 2012, finance ministers approved another IMF-E.U. bailout for Greece, worth $172 billion.
Since then, there have been even more deals between Greece and its creditors, all with the intention of saving Greece (and the European economy) from unwinding into a major financial meltdown.
Fast forward to November 2018, and Greece has finally issued the first two licenses for the cultivation and production of cannabis, with another dozen expected to be issued by the end of 2018.
Deputy Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas noted that “There is huge interest, mainly from Canada and Israel” to invest in the space. This comes as no surprise, given the high number of Canadian licensed producers that have acquired their way into the European market.
While medical marijuana will be available via prescription, Greek health insurance will not be subsidizing it. Despite this limitation on Greece’s domestic market for medical marijuana, as a maritime nation at heart, Greece’s cannabis industry will undoubtedly become an export-based one over time.
In the near-term, with over 750 jobs expected from the 14 total licenses, medical marijuana legalization may have been the bailout Greece has needed all along. As many states in the U.S. have proven, there’s a chance to make a lot of money taxing marijuana.
Home to some of the highest sales tax rates in the world, Greece clearly has no issue overtaxing people on their purchases.
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