Legislators in Cyprus voted to legalize medical cannabis on February 15, 2019. The new law allows the consumption, cultivation, import, export, and possession of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Cypriot MPs passed after a 34 to 18 majority vote an amendment to the country’s Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law, which sees the adoption of a legislative framework that regulates the import/export, cultivation, production, and distribution of medical cannabis, as well as its use for scientific research.
It will also provide regulations for the galenical preparations for medical products, as well as for the free prescription of the drug to eligible patients.
Provisions of the new law
Under the new law, licenses will be granted to three producers within the first 15 years of legalization as authorities aim to attract financially sound companies with a global track record. Licensing only three producers will promote safety and effectiveness as it prevents cannabis products from ending up on the black market.
Moreover, the new law allows patients to use medical cannabis provided that they have a prescription. Only patients suffering from chronic pain, including pain associated with HIV, glaucoma, rheumatism, and cancer, as well as those who have Crohn’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome. are qualified to get a prescription for the drug.
Officials are expecting to see medical cannabis worth €180 million ($200 million) being produced annually, giving state coffers a boost.
The head of the pharmaceutical services also sees the state making a significant profit from medical cannabis. According to its estimates, in a 20-hectare farm or greenhouse, around 20,000 cannabis plants can be grown, which will yield 9,000 kg of dry cannabis. Given that the export price of medical marijuana is €7,400 per kilo, this greenhouse can produce and export medicinal cannabis worth a total of €66.6 million for every 150 days, which is the amount of time it takes to cultivate and produce a batch of cannabis. Production costs €9.9 million, which means that the profit for the state will be €56.7 million.