Italy's Army Is Bringing In Its First Harvest Of Cannabis
Last October we reported how the Italian army was planning to grow medical grade marijuana at military pharmaceutical facility in order to create supply, and drive down the inflated cost of prescription marijuana. The initiative, which was actually announced last September, aims to grow 100kg of MJ every year. With their first harvest finally approaching, from the looks of things, they are easily going to reach their goal - reporters were recently let into the secure grow room, and the crop is thriving under advanced military care. Make way for some super military grade weed!
WHY ARE THE MILITARY GROWING WEED?
It may sound quite odd to give the military control over medical marijuana production, but for a substance that still carries a lot of stigma and is still classed as an illicit substace, it actually makes some sense. Cannabis is still technically illegal in Italy (although that may soon change). Medical marijuana has been legalized, and the possession of small amounts has been decriminalised, but growing and selling weed is still very much illegal. As such, there is no easy access for medical marijuana patients who have a genuine prescription. Marijuana has to be imported from here in the Netherlands, and as the cost is not covered by the government, it can end up costing patients €35 per gram. It is just too expensive to be practical for many.
The army answers all the problems here. They can ensure that any cannabis grown is extremely secure, protected, and grown to a high medical quality – easing the minds of both politicians and patients. And by being able to produce lots of it, it gives Italian patients prescribed marijuana an easy and cheap supply to access. Colonel Antonio Medica told Corriere della Sera, "The aim of this operation is to make available to a growing number of patients a medical product which isn't always readily available on the market, at a much better price for the user”.
According to the Colonel, their efforts should drive the price of medical marijuana down to as low as €5 per gram, ranging up to and average of €15 – making it much more affordable.
Absolute government control of anything (especially where the military is concerned) can be quite scary, but it looks like they are doing the people of Italy a solid here. They are ensuring that medical patients can benefit from what marijuana has to offer, which is always a good thing in our books. Sure, it would be better if it were just legal and regulated, but this is still a step in the right direction. May their crops be always bountiful.