July 25, 2023 by João Xabregas, CannaReporter
The Albanian Parliament took a significant step last Friday, July 21, by legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes and for industrial use, with 69 votes in favour, 23 against and 3 abstentions. Albania has decided authorize limited and controlled cultivation of cannabis plants in an attempt to increase their tax revenues, but the decision faced strong opposition from some quarters.
As the option to authorize cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes comes into force, questions arise around its regulation. The government’s main belief is that authorizing restricted cannabis production could significantly increase tax revenues. Albania’s fertile lands have long been conducive to cannabis cultivation and growth, attracting traffickers who exploit the country’s weak governance in the post-Communist era.
However, the scenario changed after the left-wing Socialist Party government, led by Prime Minister Edi Rama, took power in 2013. The government made eradicating the country’s cannabis plants a top priority. Over the next two years, it launched an intensive campaign and successfully destroyed millions of cannabis plants, valued at around €7 billion ($8,5 billion). This amount corresponded to more than two-thirds of the country’s annual gross domestic product at the time.