North Macedonia Plans to Expand Medical Marijuana Exports

North Macedonia's new draft law on the control of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, which the government approved on Monday and will be sent to parliament soon, where is likely to be passed by the ruling majority, will enable exports of cannabis flowers for medical purposes.

This will allow producers to expand their exports beyond medicinal cannabis oil, the only product they have been allowed to profit from so far, and dried cannabis flowers, quantities of which they already have in storage, onto European and global markets.

The government insisted that all exports from North Macedonia will be carried in accordance with relevant international conventions and European legislation.

It also insisted that the draft legislation addresses growing concerns that some of the country's legally-produced marijuana is ending up on the black market.

The draft envisages the formation of an Agency for Control of Cultivation and Extraction of Cannabis for medicinal purposes, which will carry out more frequent checks on production facilities.

The lack of frequent checks was noted by various security experts and media investigations as one of the weak points of the country's efforts to profit from marijuana production.

Medical marijuana production became legal in North Macedonia in 2016 under a surprise decision by the conservative government of then premier Nikola Gruevski.

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 the local hospitality sector.

More than 60 companies now hold licenses to grow marijuana in the country.


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