US Athletes Plan Medical Marijuana Plant in North Macedonia

American football stars Lance Briggs, Turk McBride, and Donnie Caldwell, backed by the founder and director of the famed Exit music festival in Serbia, Dusan Kovacevic, have told BIRN that they have already picked a location for growing medicinal marijuana in North Macedonia.

If all goes well, they plan to start construction in autumn, they say, not yet disclosing the amount of their planned investment.

"A state-of-the-art facility will be built using the latest technology available in the United States. Briggs, McBride, and Caldwell have chosen a growing location in North Macedonia. The next step is to buy the land and begin construction, which is planned for the autumn," Kovacevic, who will be in charge of the investment's brand development, promotion and local support, told BIRN.

"The American athletes' role would be to provide investment and state-of-the-art growing technology," Kovacevic added.

The three US athletes and Kovacevic presented the idea to North Macedonia's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on Wednesday in Skopje.

At the meeting, "PM Zaev presented the opportunities for opening factories for medicinal cannabis in North Macedonia, the investment and taxing conditions and the favourable climate," the government's press office said.

Medical marijuana production became legal in North Macedonia in 2016 under a surprise decision by the then conservative government Nikola Gruevski, who fled a corruption conviction in 2018 and is currently in Hungary.

Gruevski's successor as prime minister, the Social Democrat Zoran Zaev, has expanded the project in the hope of boosting exports. Last year, he announced the legalisation of recreational marijuana, intended primarily to boost local hospitality sector.

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