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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 05 October 2019
NEWS 8 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 5 OCTOBER 2019 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Hopes run high for Marijuana law reform in Greece BRIAN PAPADOPOULOS Last week was the first time that a Greek store selling marijuana paraphernalia, CBD Oil Shop, was blessed by a Greek Orthodox priest. Archbishop Ireneos of Crete, blessed CBC Oil on 26 September, according to local custom where new businesses or shops are 'blessed' by priests for good luck. Cannabis, originally from India, was introduced to Ancient Greeks around 300BCE. It was used for recreation, cloth, rope, boat sails, as well as in their pharmacopoeia for treatment of inflammation, pain, and injuries. Greece was one of the world's major producers of hemp fibres and rope. Marijuana was banned in 1890 by the Greek government which associated hashish with the Ottoman East from which Greece's new ruling classes sought to culturally distance themselves at a time when they sought to become more western. Regardless, Greeks continued to smoke hashish and people used it for rope, fibre, and as a mild relaxant and mild analgesic.After the 1912, and Briefs HEALTH PROMOTION The Hellenic Medical Society of Australia (HMSA) Board’s Executive recently met with the Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos and with MP for the Seat of Oakleigh, Steve Dimopoulos, to discuss issues around the health of Greek Australians and the wider Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) population. The HMSA informed the lawmakers of the Society’s achievements in health promotion and education. Specifically 17 medical educational events, public educational events and radio events have been organised by the HMSA in the last 24 months alone. Most of these have been in Greek. Both the Minister and the HMSA acknowledged that there is a need for more language appropriate health information in Greek which is appropriate for the educational attainment of the vast majority of first generation Greek Australians. The Minister will personally pursue and facilitate further development in this important area.The HMSA indicated that the poor health literacy of migrants leads to poorer heath outcomes. Old- er Greek Australians have higher rates of musculoskeletal disorders, diabetes, and vascular/heart diseases. There is also a higher rate of depression amongst the elderly. Despite the multitude of services available many elderly Greek Australians remain isolated and lonely. GOLDEN DAWN TRIAL Golden Dawn members will take the stand, six years after rapper Pavlos Fyssas was murdered on 12 December in the Piraeus suburb of Keratsini by Giorgos Roupakias, a self-proclaimed member of the group. Defence lawyers say that the party’s former lawmakers will likely start taking the stand to respond to accusations regarding the party’s criminal activities in mid-October, and it is likely that the presentation of evidence will be completed in November before closing arguments are made in December. A verdict is unlikely to come before the first quarter of 2020. The trial of 18 former lawmakers belonging to the neo-Nazi group first began four years ago, and there have been al- most 400 days of hearings that have taken their toll on the group as could be seen during the last elections with the party’s failure to elect any lawmakers into Parliament. THOMAS COOK’S COLLAPSE Aside from the immediate repercussions of Thomas Cook’s collapse, the consequences are sure to be felt well into 2020. According to a survey released on Tuesday, the British global travel group’s collapse could cost the Greek economy over €2.5 billion (approximately AU$4 billion) in 2019 and 2020. Greece’s has a total 9,917 hotels operating throughout the country, of which 1,193 were partnered with Thomas Cook. Once the news was made public, Thomas Cook stopped almost all flight and hotel services, and laid off all its employees - leaving thousands in the lurch. Just over a week on, Greece’s tourism industry is estimated to have already suffered a loss of up to €315 million (AU$513 million), accord- ing to the Research Institute for Tourism of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, based on data collected in the first four days of the collapse from Greek hotels cooperating with the travel group. The Greek government has pledged to support affected businesses. MAYORAL SUCCESS Last Friday, 27 September, the Council of Waverley in Sydney elected its representatives, voted by the Councillors in the biannual Mayoral election which takes place every September.Labor Councillor Paula Masselos and Greens Councillor Elaine Keenan, both of Lawson Ward, were elected Mayor and Deputy Mayor respectively. Masselos, has been a Waverley Councillor for seven years and is the first woman of Greek heritage to be elected Mayor of Waverley. “In the 160 years of continuous operation as Waverley Council, some 70 men have held the position of Mayor. In this time, there have been only five female Mayors, and my election makes me the sixth, so I pay tribute to the women who have gone before me,” she said. DEATHS OUTPACE BIRTHS Deaths in Greece outpaced the number of births in 2018 for the eighth consecutive year, according to data of the Hellenic Statistical Authority on Tuesday. The population registered a net loss of 33,857 people from the previous year with 86,440 births (45,686 boys and 42,867 girls) compared to 120,297 deaths.The year also registered the lowest number of births since records started in 1932, when 185,523 births were recorded.The shift in Greece’s demography first began with the start of the economic crisis in 2011.The two areas where births exceeded deaths were the southern Aegean islands and Crete. Experts warn that by 2050, Greece’s population will have dropped between 800,000 people, and possibly even 2.5 million people. In an effort to shift the trend, the New Democracy government has vowed to grant a 2,000-euro benefit for every child born in the country as of 2020. COKE ADDS STRIFE Coca Cola has been criticised for using photos of Greek monuments such as the Parthenon, Greek Parliament, Thessaloniki’s White Tower and islands of the Cyclades on limited edition bottles. The company has been accused of being hypocritical in its use of these symbols when it had closed down its factory in Greece during the height of the economic crisis, while also moving its branch office to Switzerland. Greek company’s Vikos, Epsa and Lux lodged an official complaint with the Greek Ministry of Culture, and announced that the National Communication Control Council, a member of the European Advertising Standards Alliance, recently vindicated them on this issue and gave Coca Cola a 30-day deadline to remove national symbols from its ad campaign – not only from its collection packaging, but its entire marketing campaign. 1913 Balkan Wars, returning Greek soldiers smoked hashish, a habit picked up in Ottoman Gallipoli and eastern Thrace. During the Great Catastrophe when over 1.5m Asian Minor Greeks were pushed out of Asia Minor, (Turkey), by the Ottomans, Greek refugees brought with them a new music, rebetika, and a culture of smoking hashish. The Rebetes (Turkish meaning 'rebel') hung out in 'tekkes' or rooms attached to coffee houses to smoke hashish.Greek governments harangued rebetes and sought to give them, and their habits, a bad name. Current laws regarding prohibition and consumption in Greece are more progressive than the past. Consumers who run afoul of the law are treated as patients rather than criminals. Still, Greek Law No. 4139/2013 stipulates that for those who obtain, process, or cultivate cannabis plants in numbers indicating even personal use may still be sentenced to prison, although for no more than five months.In contrast, currently twenty plus states in the U.S. have legalised marijuana for recreational or medical use. The Greek Government, on the other hand, did not take up any conversation about legalising or regulating cannabis until 2016, despite a thriving, albeit very underground, cannabis scene. More recently in the EU, Luxemburg legalised marijuana use while other states like Portugal have decriminalised it. In 2017, former SYRIZA Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, announced that medical cannabis would be legal for patients with a doctor's prescription. Access remains a problem.In 2018, Greece granted licenses to two companies to grow cannabis, while twelve more are expected to be issued. Ekathimerini newspaper claimed the 'rebirth' of the hemp industry brought a 'renaissance' to the economy, thanks to Greece's climate which is ideal for growing quality cannabis.Interest in the Greek market is coming from investors in Canada, Israel, Germany, Belgium, France and Russia. More than 30 countries have applied to invest in Greece's nascent cannabis market, which could put Greece ahead of Denmark as the EU's top cannabis supplier. There is optimism that Greece will again develop large productions of medicinal cannabis as well as industrial hemp, and analysts believe that the investments under consideration could lead to around 7,000 jobs, bring investments of around 1.5 billion euros, and position Greece as an international hub for cultivation and processing.
28 September 2019
12 October 2019