Locals had a surprise when 28kg of hash washed ashore in Peyia. Cyprus cannabis is just the latest delivery from the sea.
A concerned citizen noticed twenty-one sealed plastic bags floating in the sea near Peyia, Cyprus. – luckily, it was nothing sinister, just a ton of cannabis. The person who spotted the package called the authorities on Thursday afternoon last week and police officers discovered that it was 28 kilos of cannabis resin.
Authorities took the package to their lab where drug-squad officers package reported that the resin was useless. The package seemed had been in the water for quite a while, where it was exposed to high quantities of salt.
It is not clear why the package was floating in the sea. It may have been a delivery for someone in the area. Or passengers on a passing ship may have thrown it overboard in an effort to get rid it. We may never know but either way, there’s likely someone seriously missing their product.
Cannabis resin, also known as hashish or hash, is a darkish brown substance. It is typically sold as a solid brick.
What’s With All This Sea Weed?
The phenomenon of “sea weed” is not so unfamiliar. A shipment of illicit cannabis worth roughly $24 million was found earlier this year on a beach in Gibraltar after a boat of smugglers overturned near the coastline.
Similarly, on a beach in Florida, large sized packages of cannabis washed up on the shore. Locals tried to exploit the situation, giving local police a bit of a run around in clean up. Across the country, on another beach in Santa Barbara, California, a similar incident occurred. And, in the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Croatia, almost 200 kg of cannabis was found floating in the sea.
Is Cannabis Legal in Cyprus?
A new medical cannabis law in Cyprus legalized the cultivation and domestic use of cannabis. And as of 15 February 2019, the government approved growing, importing, and exporting as well. Moreover, the government amended the Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law. Now, businesses can import cannabis seeds and plants for cultivation purposes. Businesses can also obtain a regulating license.
The Cyprus Green Party supported the motion, arguing that hundreds of patients are looking for an alternative, non-chemical way to treat their health conditions. The change in law could only benefit them. The Green Party believes there could have been more improvements to the legislation, but the road is open for medical cannabis in Cyprus and what has been done is an excellent start.
Louis Panayi, the head of the Pharmaceutical Services Department in Cyprus’ Ministry of Health, explained how it works. Patients need to get a prescription from a specialist physician. Then, they must go to the pharmacy to receive their cannabis – just as with any other prescription drug. This ensures the patient receives a high quality product in the appropriate dose. It also helps to prevent lesser quality, or ‘cut’ illegal cannabis from infiltrating the market.
Furthermore, the Cypriot economy could enjoy an enormous boost from the production, distribution, and export of medicinal cannabis grown in Cyprus. The global market for cannabis cultivation and production is still very young. In other words – early producers can get the biggest piece of the pie, which could lead to vast exports.
What About Recreational Use?
As with many other countries, the law changes for medicinal use, but there is not recreational use. If police catch you using recreational cannabis on the streets of Cyprus, they might arrest you. Police will take fingerprints, a statement, and will likely keep you overnight. If the offense is minor, they’ll release you the following day.
Activities associated with cannabis for recreational purposes are still illegal. You cannot sell, grow, or buy cannabis. Foreigners don’t have a privilege and any suspicion of illegal activities will lead to a search.
According to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Law of 1977, cannabis is a class B substance within Cyprus. So, adults over the age of 25 could get a maximum of 8 years in prison for cannabis possession. The government will only sentence a person under 25 years of age to 2 years in prison. Minor first offenders might just get a warning.
With the new change in medical cannabis legislation, many believe lawmakers should reconsider recreational legislation. The general opinion is that Cyprus easily could become the Amsterdam of the Mediterranean.
Prohibition doesn’t seem to work. Numerous countries across the world looking to legalize both medicinal and recreational uses of the plant proves that. When in combination with their perfect weather, cannabis legalization could turn Cyprus into the number one vacation spot for people across the globe.