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‘Big Mike’ Touches Down In Cannabis-Loving Macedonia

Written by Peter McCusker

Macedonia’s free-market approach to medical cannabis is setting it apart from many European states.

And, in positioning itself as welcome jurisdiction for cannabis investment, it received a visit from a leading U.S. cannabis entrepreneur, reports the Balkan Insight website. Mike Straumietis, CEO of Advanced Nutrients, which produces growing supplements, has made a flying visit to the former Yugoslavian country.

With a colorful background, racy tastes, and a high-profile media presence ‘Big Mike’ is not one to shun publicity. His multiple social media posts informed followers of his meeting with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, whilst praising the country’s cannabis ambitions.

One such posted trumpeted: ‘Let me tell you, this country has huge potential, and I’m excited to be a part of turning Macedonia into one of Europe’s first Cannabis Superpowers’.

Health Minister Venko Filipce and the mayor of Skopje’s Centar municipality, Sasa Bogdanovic were also in the meeting with ‘Marijuana Mike’ – another one of his monikers. With no official pre-announcement on the visit the Macedonian press contacted the Government for an update and the Balkan Insight website ran this as its response.

‘Our representatives, including the prime minister, have working meetings on economic matters on a daily basis, and that they have no obligation to inform the public about all of them. There is no professional standard or practice for informing the public about all of the working meetings [taking place] in the government,’ it said.

So, at this stage in the game it appears to be a case of watch this space. However, expect to hear some news in due course as there is little doubt Macedonia, or North Macedonia, as it is formally known is aiming high.

It legalized growing cannabis for medical purposes in 2016, and Prime Minister Zaev, is a vocal supporter of the industry. His cousin, Trajce Zaev is already a leading cannabis investor in the country, reports Balkan Insight. In the European Cannabis Report published by London-based Prohibition Partners its bullish in its analysis of Macedonia.

‘Macedonia has set its sights on European expansion, cultivating a cannabis industry of its own, opening doors to investors, entrepreneurs and multinationals. It goes on to say ‘it is joining the ranks of the Balkan states leading cannabis reform in south-eastern Europe’.

With Macedonia adopting a free market model for the production of cannabis-based products, rather than setting up production under a state monopoly, it can be a leader in this area, says the report.

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About the author

Peter McCusker

Peter McCusker is an experienced news and business editor, who believes it’s time to fully embrace the multiple, proven, medical benefits of the cannabis plant.