Albania moves closer to legalizing Cannabis for medical and industrial purposes

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On Friday June 16, the Albanian Council of Ministers approved the project to legalize the production of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes in the country.

The country’s health minister, Ogerta Manastirliu, told media that the purpose of the law was to regulate and “guarantee the process of control and supervision of cultivation, production, processing and ‘export of cannabis, its by-products and its final products’. She specified that a national agency is being created to oversee the implementation of the regulation.

Under the proposed regulations, there would be no THC cap for medical cannabis and cultivation would be limited to an area of ​​5 to 10 hectares.

Cannabis grown for industrial purposes will be limited to 0.8% THC and by-products can be obtained from the whole plant (including stems, flowers and seeds). Cultivation will be limited to at least one hectare.

The idea was floated some time ago, and has also been met with opposition, given the country’s history of cannabis production and trafficking.

Prime Minister Edi Rama had polled citizens on the issue as part of a “national inquiry” which has been criticized for its lack of independence. According to this survey, 61% of the citizens questioned are in favor of the legalization of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes.

“The objective of this bill is to regulate and guarantee the process of control and supervision of the cultivation, production, processing and export of cannabis, its by-products and its products. finals,” Mr. Manastirliu said on Friday.

Albania has a long history of cannabis cultivation and trafficking since the collapse of communism three decades ago.

For fifteen years, until 2014, the village of Lazarat, in southern Albania, became “the European capital of cannabis cultivation”, an area where the police did not dare to enter and which was suppressed only by a military-style operation. Cannabis cultivation remains a serious problem in the country, however, and the governments of Edi Rama have been accused of collaborating with traffickers.

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