Albania, once a refuge for illicit cannabis, is preparing to legalize a culture for medical use
Albania plans to legalize the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes, six years after the start of a crackdown on an illegal trade that has made it the biggest outdoor cannabis cultivator in Europe, according to reports.
This is important news above all on a symbolic level. Albania has been considered for years as the Colombia of Europe, a crossroads for the production and sale of illegal substances, starting with cannabis, for the repression of which, no more than three years ago, men and vehicles from all over Europe came to the rescue, with Italy at the forefront. Today, there is serious question of making this market legal, to deal with the underworld and the economic crisis of what remains one of the poorest states in Europe.
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said that after a year of work, the bill for the legalization of cannabis for medical use is almost ready: "We have been working on it for a year, and it will be ready soon after long consultation with our experts and those from abroad. Help from foreign experts has been important because we don't invent anything but we learn from others.
Rama also said that the legalization bill will be ready "for public debate" very soon. The Prime Minister's statements were made on Europe Day, which probably explains why the EU delegation in Tirana felt compelled to stress that “the European Commission and the delegation of the "The EU has not been involved in the preparation, drafting or consultation of projects related to the cultivation and legalization of cannabis in Albania for medical purposes".
However, the proposal is now on the table, and the government's intention appears to be to turn it into law in the near future. While in Lazarat, the former capital of illegal production, villagers are demanding a full amnesty for those convicted of charges related to cannabis.