by Thanos Kiachidis
The existence of the cannabis plant has been crucial for human living for thousands of years, as it was a source of energy, food, clothing, euphoria and medicine for various diseases. The targeted global ban and demonization for at least 80 years has violated the interests of humanity and has blindly served the combined interests of the farmaceutical, oil, tobacco, alcohol, paper and other unhealthy polluting industries.
At the same time, scientific publications worldwide prove its beneficial properties in various diseases and illnesses, leading to the discovery, in the beginning of 1990, of the endocannabinoid system in the human organism which coordinates different functions for homeostasis. Thus, the restoration of truth, gives ground for the removal of malicious prohibitions, that have only caused misery in societies and the environment.
Greece, which, after centuries of rich exploitation of the plant, followed the darkness and scaremongering of the years of the ban, the persecution of users -with great commitment- from the authorities and justice, even the patients with serious conditions who had an absolute need for cure or even survival.
As a result of this treatment, patients and other users were consuming dubious quality cannabis products, by coming into contact with smugglers and facing serious criminal penalties. In this difficult environment, with the skeptical and ignorant public opinion, the anti-ban movement flourished along with activism for legalizing cannabis with promoters, for more than 30 years, doctors Kleanthis Grivas and Giorgis Economopoulos.
Everyone has offered their documented scientific knowledge in books, speeches, open social debates, updates and actions. On their side, there were scientists and writers such as George Karabelas, Marios Marselos, Costas Skliamis and many artists like Dimitris Poulakakos, as well as a number of patients who were fighting for their rights.
This has opened the way for proper information. Since 2004, similar festivals have been organized in Athens, Thessaloniki and other cities, with a large participation of speakers, artists and supporters who year after year are embraced by a huge response and interest from people.
In the wake of all these actions, official entities – such as the Hellenic Association of Healing Cannabis, the Association for the Use of Pharmaceutical Cannabis and the Association (MAMA.KA)- were created. In 2016, 43,520 signatures of Greek citizens were officially filed to the Health Minister, calling for the decriminalization of Cannabis for patients. Also, their action is continuous with interventions in the changes of the legislative framework, by informing doctors and patients about the healing value of cannabis, by organizing workshops, medical gatherings, harvest celebrations and other events.
Reaching 2018, the year began with the first cannabis Expo in Athens, with hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of visitors, attended by the iconic activist Rick Simpson. June has welcomed Balkannabis with participants from across the Balkan and Europe, keynote speeches and workshops as well as medical staff seminars by outstanding scientists and industry researchers, followed by the interesting first Expo in Thessaloniki.
This is the beggining of vindication of the activists, who had the vision to see our society healthy, based on the truth about the healing properties of cannabis. The future of the use of healing cannabis is brilliant and it has much to teach us.
The Green Greeks Magazine
Photos from inexarchia