Cannabis in Greece – Laws, Use, and History

It is illegal to use or supply cannabis in Greece, though the law is less strict on limited personal use. In 2017, the Greek government legalised the use of cannabis for medical purposes, and a year later, they lifted the ban on growing or producing it. This enables pharmaceutical companies to grow cannabis legally, and industrial hemp suppliers too.

    • Capital
    • Athínai (Athens)
    • Population
    • 11,103,000
    • CBD Products
    • Legal under 0.2% THC
    • Recreational cannabis
    • Illegal
    • Medicinal cannabis
    • Legal since 2017

Cannabis laws in Greece

Can you possess and use cannabis in Greece?

The Greek Drug Law of 1987 stated that all aspects of drug use were ‘punishable with imprisonment’, even if the individual was only caught in possession of cannabis for personal use. Since then, many amendments have been made to this.

The 2013 amendment introduced a more lenient stance, though it is still strict when compared to other European countries. If caught with a small quantity of cannabis for personal use, you may be sentenced to no more than five months in prison. The offence will not be added to your criminal record, on the condition that the same offence isn’t repeated within a five-year period.

If the investigating judge recommends you to a special treatment unit, the prison sentence may be suspended. The judge decides on the severity of the sentence based on the quantity of cannabis seized, and the offender’s unique circumstances. 

Can you sell cannabis in Greece?

It is illegal to sell or supply cannabis in Greece. If you are found guilty of supplying it, you could be sentenced to as much as eight years’ imprisonment. This is reduced to three years if you are an addict yourself or part of a supply group. A life sentence may be given if the supply is carried out by individuals in a position of public responsibility; for example, a teacher or doctor. If the supplier is drug-dependent, they may be considered for conditional release once they have completed the recommended treatment for drug addiction.

In some instances, a fine is issued. Usually this is between EUR 50,000 and EUR 500,000.

Can you grow cannabis in Greece?

The law dictates that it is illegal to grow cannabis in the home. Technically speaking, it is not illegal to purchase cannabis seeds, but these cannot be germinated, nor can they be used to grow plants.

If caught growing a limited number of cannabis plants, the sentence is unlikely to be severe. However, if it is determined that you intend to harvest and distribute the cannabis, this is regarded as a much more serious offence.

Is CBD legal in Greece?

While CBD is not widely used in Greece, it is starting to become more popular. This is largely due to the change in law regarding medicinal use. If the CBD oil is harvested from EU-certified plants, then it is legally acceptable to purchase or sell it.

The CBD oil must not contain more than 0.2% THC. THC is the psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis that provides the ‘high’; and the effects of such a small amount are minimal.

Be aware, as the law for the purchase or sale of CBD oil is a famously ‘grey area’ in many countries in Europe. As such, CBD oil should always be sourced from a reputable supplier.

Can cannabis seeds be sent to Greece?

Greek law permits the sale, purchase and possession of cannabis seeds. It is legal to send them via the post too. At present, the use of cannabis seeds is restricted. For example, you are not legally permitted to germinate them, nor can you use them to grow plants.

Medicinal cannabis in Greece

In 2017, Greece became the sixth EU country to legalise the use of cannabis for medical purposes. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras commented: “From now on, the country is turning its page, as Greece is now included in countries where the deliver of medical cannabis to patients in need is legal.”

Additionally, the plant was downgraded from a Class A to a Class B drug. This highlighted the Greek government’s softening attitude to cannabis.

At this stage, it was unclear how pharmaceutical companies would cultivate cannabis for their medical products. The following year, the government passed a further law, permitting the production of medicinal cannabis.

This is significant, not only for patients in Greece requiring medical treatment, but also for the country’s economy as a whole. Its warm climate is ideal for cannabis growth and could benefit Greece financially in the future.

Industrial hemp in Greece

Thanks to the 2018 law permitting the growth and cultivation of cannabis plants, the country can now legally cultivate industrial hemp. The hemp can be used for a variety of purposes, from construction and textiles, to paper and biodegradable plastic. As with any other form of cannabis production, the plants used must contain less than 0.2% THC.

Greece’s political parties and cannabis

In the past, Greece’s political parties have often adopted a hard-line on the laws regarding cannabis use. In recent years, this has changed considerably. In 2017, the coalition government approved the use and production of medicinal cannabis in Greece, with many centrist parties voting in favour of the law.

It was challenged by New Democracy, Golden Dawn, the Communist Party and the Centrist’s Union. New Democracy emphasised that they saw the value of medical cannabis but were against the government’s approach. They felt the new laws did not safeguard against uncontrolled production and distribution.

The Communist Party took an even stronger stance in opposition to the decision. They called upon the government to withdraw the decision, claiming that it would open the gates to “murderous multinationals”.

Good to know

If you are travelling to Greece (or currently live there), it is useful to know the following:

  • It is still illegal to use cannabis for recreational purposes in Greece. The law is traditionally fairly lenient if you are caught with a small amount for personal use but has the right to impose a prison sentence.
  • Investments in hemp and medical cannabis have grown significantly since 2018. Most processing plants will be situated in northern Greece and the first is anticipated to open in April 2019.
  • The Greek government see medical cannabis production as a chance to boost the economy and reduce unemployment. Just one site in Veroia is anticipated to generate 2,000 new jobs.

Greek cannabis history

Cannabis has a long, illustrious history in Greece. In ancient times, it was prized for its medicinal benefits, such as reducing “inflammation, earache and edema” (Lahanas, Examples of Ancient Greek Medical Knowledge, 2006). The historian Herodotus also noted that the Scythian tribes inhaled its smoke.

Before being banned in 1890, it was widely smoked by the Greek population. There were even bars established to allow people to smoke it freely. However, it was declared a threat to society and since then, the laws regarding cannabis use in Greece have been strict.

Despite this, many Greek soldiers and refugees smoked cannabis regularly after World War I, but this decreased with the onset of the next World War.

Modern attitudes to cannabis

Greek attitudes to cannabis have shifted noticeably in recent years. Once regarded as a dangerous, Class A drug, its recent downgrading to Class B marks a growing change in public perception. It is still a criminal offence to use, possess or supply cannabis. But the decision to give judges the right to make the final decision on sentencing indicates that the law is becoming more flexible on the matter.

Cannabis statistics

Here are a few statistics regarding cannabis in Greece:

  • Herbal cannabis is the most seized drug by the police, in terms of kilogram weight. It is followed by heroin and cocaine. Hash is the fourth most commonly seized.
  • 4.5% of ‘young adults’ in Greece use cannabis. (‘Young adult’ is defined as between 15 and 34 years old)” 
  • Of all people seeking help for drug addiction, 23% of those are receiving treatment for cannabis use. Heroin addiction is the most treated – accounting for 61% of cases.

Can you receive cannabis on prescription in Greece?

Under Greece’s current licensing system, cannabis medical products can be obtained on prescription from pharmacists. They are not yet subsidised through the state. Exact numbers of patients are not known, but it is believed that thousands currently use cannabis to alleviate symptoms associated with various medical conditions.

Cannabis products produced in Greece are not yet available (as the processing plants have only just been established). It is anticipated that the first Greek-grown medical cannabis will come to market in 2020.

Why is Greece good for growing cannabis?

In order to thrive, cannabis plants require warmth and sunlight. This is something that southern European nations such as Greece have plenty of. Establishing cannabis plantations in the country makes good business sense, and the easy access to other European countries is also an advantage.

Experts believe that, by creating a cannabis industry in Greece, the economy will be boosted significantly. Investors estimate that the European medical cannabis market could be worth over EUR 50billion in annual sales.

“Perceptions are changing as the sector booms,” says Andreas Gennimatas, a partner in a company about to start producing cannabis products in Greece. “It’s like the internet in the late ‘90s”.

Is it safe to use cannabis in Greece?

While laws are becoming slowly more liberal, it is important to remember that using cannabis is illegal. Also, punishments are among the most severe in Europe. Although the government’s recent support of medical cannabis marks a change, it is inadvisable to see this as a chance to use it recreationally. 

  • Disclaimer:
    While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this article, it is not intended to provide legal advice, as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

Comments

50 thoughts on “Cannabis in Greece – Laws, Use, and History”

  1. On KOS Island – we get Turkish or Albanian weed, very very rarely hash. It comes through Athens. Prices – around 1500 per kilo 🙂 5g for 30-50 euro. We have a little home grown sensi at the end of the summer 🙂

  2. john kereszteny

    God gave us herbs to eat as food, not smoke. Genesis 1 : 29. True story. Chinese medicine cannabis use. Plant for eating, not smoking.

  3. timthegreek

    Well you stupid barberian, god said that every fruit has seeds is available to eat, well i have news for you, there are trees with toxic fruits or toxic seeds, be my guest eating them and wait for your stupid god to save you.

    Filoi ellines oso den kanete grow tha pinete arxidia kai tha plironete mia periousia.

  4. 9 may 2015 we have a festival at syntagma to legalize the marijuana..we are ready to smoke and grow cannabis everywhere..i think until 2017 Greece will legalize the medicine.

    1. Very good prediction my friend! As you already know it became medicly legal now, in 2017! Nice guess ?

      1. Medical cannabis in Crete is nonsense!!!

        Would like to know what strains of cannabis can be grown as so called legal weed?? Are they just growing hemp legally then??

  5. well even if we eat weed the effects are even better!! god knew the benefits! smoking is recreative!!! by the way great article!!!

  6. Anyone knows if and how I can get medical cannabis in Greece for my dad who’s a cancer patient?
    Although is easy enough to find weed to smoke I don’t think is the best choice for him as he is not suppose to smoke whatsoever!
    Thanks in advance.

    1. it is possible to buy vaporizers to use the herb. you can buy it over amazon. there is many u tube clips with reviews and ideas on what works best for what purpose. it is possible to buy CBD oil from the UK but it is very expensive to get the right dose.

      kali tixi

      1. CBDBrothers

        CBDBrothers in the uk are excellent for medical cannabidoil. They are however very expensive. I’m wondering about taking some with me to Greece on holiday for pain relief but don’t know what the situation is there. It’s in a small bottle with a pipette, about 10 ml when full and the results are amazing but I don’t want to end up in prison for taking something that helps my pain

    2. I am looking for medical cannabis in Greece for my dad too, who has Dementia. I’ve researched ALOT on medical cannabis and sadly, Hemp Oil with CBD is not strong enough for therapeutic use. Instead, it is a dietary supplement promoting good health not heavy therapy for long term illnesses. There is a difference. I’m not against hemp oil with CBD products, they are legitimate but its important to know that 10% or 15% of hemp CBD is NOT he same as Cannabis. Hemp is a different very common and legal plant in the same family as Cannabis but not has potent for long term illnesses. So, if anyone knows where I can find CANNABIS in Greece, for MEDICAL purposes and HOW, please reply.

      1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

        Dear Eleni,

        Thank you for your comment. We are sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, as Sensi Seeds is not a medical practice, we are not able to provide any advice relating to medical situations other than to consult your doctor or other licensed medical professional. This article, written specifically for healthcare providers who may not be aware of the many properties of cannabis, may be useful to you in talking with your doctor. You could also try to contact local medicinal cannabis support groups, if you have not already done so. In the UK, there is the United Patients Alliance (you can find them on Facebook) and in the US and EU there are many branches of NORML (google NORML followed by your area name). We hope this is helpful.

        With best wishes,

        Scarlet

      2. Elenh h lhsh einai h autokaliergia kopela mou giati oti allo kai na kaneis den eisai sigourh… prospa8hse oso mporeis na exeis prosbash se meros na baleis esu futa

  7. Sensiseeds have any seeds from the Greek weed plants or anyone knows a way to get some?

  8. your article has many inconsistanciesand false claims. cannabis and its rope was used by greeks more than 8000 years ago according to finds (shipwrecks and other at ancient werfts. they knew that only cannabis fibers could not decompose in water and they made their great navy using cannabis to tie togeher their ships and also as a rope for tying the ships to harbors. dont forget between the planks u put cannabisfibers to fill the hole and keep it water tight. also the colombia of greece is very bad but you need catchy titles so i forgive you that. im sure if u ae references and come in contacts with naval museums u can get more info on whati said first. dont forget that aischylos and hippocrates used it and also wrote about its medicinal value. read that also.

  9. The thing with greek law is that it is so complicated and it gives many stepping stones to harsh judges so that they can do whatever they wish and give big sentences . We say here that they probably thing that years are peanuts. Anyone can say that you are exagerating about the fines, coz you missed some points, but if you look closer at the greek law you ll find out that they re worse than you describe.. The fact is that they cant stop this wave anymore. VENCEREMOS

  10. Vancho Tolomanosi

    Cool article Macedonia has legalized medical cannabis. I am part of a group that will have the license to grow and extract. Would you guys do a story on this.

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Vancho,

      Thank you for your comment, I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I will propose the idea for an article on Macedonia, that’s great news about the medicinal situation!

      With best wishes,

      Scarlet

      1. Macedonia is Greece lmfao what the fuck.
        He is from FYROM, Federal Yugoslavian Republic Of Macedonia

      2. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

        Hi Nicholas,

        Vancho Tolomanosi said Macedonia has legalised medical cannabis and would we do a story on it, I replied that I would propose the idea. If you jumped to the conclusion that we think Macedonia is Greece simply because these comments were left below an article about cannabis in Greece, maybe read a little more carefully next time 😉

        Best wishes,

        Scarlet

    2. Half Greek , koufos mom maiden name … wondering what does Greece have in flower interesting seed

      From granada hill ca

  11. I would love to find some Greek seeds. If you ever stock them I’d be more than grateful.

  12. Damn I wanted to go to Greece and Smoke weed but it seems like I cant…has anyone been and can tell me their experience with smoking and or obtaining weed….Im from California USA San Francisco

    1. Hi Greg ,

      In Crete island you can obtain and smoke 🙂 u will find it easy and secure.
      Have fun

      1. Hello,
        I tried to find a way to get my weed in Crete and I found this not new article , I am going there in two weeks from now and I quite concern as I did not miss a day of smoking for almost 20 years now and I am afraid to have a week without smoking in Crete, it sounds impossible for me.. please please I need help in this subject.
        Thanks a lot.

    2. a high percentage of greeks use it and an even higher percentage ocasionally.You can find in any town easy.

  13. Hi.
    I’m going to Greece and want to know how the law is about CBD oil, with highest 0,2% THC in it.
    It is a labeled and certificated brand. How will they react at the airport if they found it in my bag?

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Pia,

      Unfortunately I am not able to answer this question. I advise you to make enquiries with the Greek border authorities to see what the current situation regarding CBD oil is.

      With best wishes,

      Scarlet

    2. GreekDude1917

      Some stores like En Karpo (Εν Καρπώ) in Thessaloniki sell CBD oil, and some stores even sell Hemp (CBD) vegan milk. Legally.

  14. What are the penalties for having 1 g of marijuana? My boyfriend was detained for one night (because of lack of translator) and released on the second day in Athens, He was carrying 1 g marijuana. He has a summons to the court on October 17th. What a penalty? I’m so scared.

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Olivia,

      I’m sorry to hear about this! Unfortunately I can’t answer this question; my advice would be to consult a lawyer and/or the British Embassy in Athens (if you are British). Good luck, I hope it works out ok.

      With best wishes,

      Scarlet

  15. Angela drake

    My son likes to smoke weed and we are thinking of moving to Corfu or Zante what are the laws there like?

  16. Jim Englsih

    The Sentence ought to be in Days, not Weeks or Months

    You go spend a Whole day in prison and see for yourself for an Averaged Educated Person wasting all day and nite behind HD Fencing.. after 2-4 days can drive you Nuts and Really Regret it..
    . Everyone and anyone ought to have to spend at least 1 day in prison before being able sentence anyone..

    and most are Middle to Upper Class and Educted people making $50k ( Euror) that the Country’s economy is Loosing valueable Income taxes, that Cost and the cost to Imprision them? Can be over 6,000( Euro) a Month = 200 Euro a Day..

  17. FYI It is not allowed to transport cannabis products via any port of entry or exit, regardless if it is legal in the source and or the destination.

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    Sensi Seeds

    The Sensi Seeds Editorial team has been built throughout our more than 30 years of existence. Our writers and editors include botanists, medical and legal experts as well as renown activists the world over including Lester Grinspoon, Micha Knodt, Robert Connell Clarke, Maurice Veldman, Sebastian Maríncolo, James Burton and Seshata.
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    Maurice Veldman

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