At least three of the 15 companies which received licenses to operate in the recently legalized medical marijuana business are tied to Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and his family. These include Mam, a company registered in Sveti Nikole in 2011, founded by the Fitohemija company. After it received a marijuana growing license, the company was taken over by a Slovenian company, which later included the Prime Minister’s powerful cousin Trajce Zaev.

Farma Medika Kanabis from Valandovo is also owned by Trajce Zaev, along with two other cousins of the Prime Minister – Katerina Bogojevic and Boban Zaev. Another company, based in Karbinci under the name Oaza Alkaloidi, is co-owned by Slave Ivanovski, who was reportedly Zaev’s partner in several businesses.

Zaev’s lawyer Vane Andreev, and his political ally Bishop Naum of Strumica, are also reportedly entering the marijuana business.

Companies related to the Prime Minister have grown exponentially after he took over power in Macedonia in 2017. But, his marijuana businesses have drawn particular scrutiny, given how heavily regulated the business is, which means that having powerful friends of relatives in the Government can make or break a business in this field.