Italian Army Plants Its First Pot Farm, Aims to Cut Medical Cannabis Costs

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Italian Army Plants Its First Pot Farm, Aims to Cut Medical Cannabis Costs

Post by LemonTree on Sat May 02, 2015 1:03 pm

Evidently confident that its borders are secure, the Italian army has
undertaken a new enterprise. At a highly secure lab in Florence, the
military has planted its very own cannabis farm, all in an effort to curtail
the high cost of medical marijuana.

For two years now, medical pot has been legal in Italy. When deemed appropriate,
Italian doctors can prescribe the drug to patients. But even with that approval,
marijuana can be hard to come by. With the nation’s entire stockpile imported – mostly
from the Netherlands – one gram can cost as much as 35 euros.

The Italian government hopes to cut those prices in half, and to that end the army has
begun growing its first batch of the green.

"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," Colonel Antonio Medica told
Italian website Corriere della Sera.

The growing operation is underway
in a bunker tucked away in a
pharmaceutical plant in Florence, right
next door to in-house drying and
packing facilities. This secure facility is
precisely why the army was put in charge of the farming.

If everything goes according to plan, the farm could produce 220 pounds of pot
annually, which could reduce prices significantly.

"We’re aiming to lower the price to under 15 euros, maybe even around 5 euros per
gram," Colonel Medica said.

For some, the lonely indoor farm is a sad reduction from an Italian countryside once
covered in cannabis fields. Until the 1960s, the northeastern region near Venice had
grown the crop for centuries to craft paper, cloth, and rope. Only one outdoor operation
remains in Italy, and that farm is used exclusively for research purposes.

The Italian government has also made
it clear that despite its increased
interest in medical marijuana, it has no
interest in following in the footsteps
of some of its European neighbors or
certain US states.

Italian Senator Carlo Giovanardi
emphasized that he wants to make
sure that "curing sick people does not
become an excuse to expand the use
of the substance," according
to Reuters. He added that complete
legalization could lead to a "society of zombies."

Or an army of zombies, perhaps, if the soldiers guarding that facility get bored in the
middle of the night.


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