The flag of Cyprus hangs on a line next to the flag of Greece during a day of celebration.

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In an effort to attract international investors, federal officials in Cyprus have approved plans allowing cultivation of medical cannabis on the island, according to a Cyprus Mail report. The cabinet-backed plan, which would make two cultivation licenses available, still needs to be approved by Parliament.

Health Minister Giorgos Pamborides said officials hope to attract capital and start-ups in order to boost pharmaceutical research and development by allowing medical cannabis cultivation.

“I believe that Cyprus can be a pioneer in the region due to the favorable weather conditions,” he said in the report.

Cyprus Weekly reported in May that doctors had begun writing medical cannabis prescriptions for cancer patients which they could fill at pharmacies. Presently, medical cannabis products are imported into Cyprus. Tilray, a Canadian medical cannabis producer, announced on May 4 that they had received approval from the European Union to send Tilray Drops into Cyprus.

Cyprus’ Friends of Cannabis advocacy group has since called on Pamborides to expand access to the program beyond end-stage cancer patients, and urged lawmakers to support a comprehensive state-wide regime.

“By legalizing the cultivation process, in less than two years Cyprus could become the medicinal cannabis capital of a large part of Europe, producing enough for local needs and exports and adding a new branch to its medical tourism product,” said Petros Evdokas, a member of the advocacy group, in the Cyprus Weekly report. “[Pamborides] is not exercising his powers to the full, only to the tragic minimum.”

Pamborides indicated he hoped Parliament would approve the cultivation plans soon so officials could begin seeking potential investors.

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