1,600 New Reasons to Celebrate Medical Marijuana in Italy

At long last, domestic Italian cannabis is here for the medical community; which is, as they say, fantastico!

Colonel Antonio Medica completed the first portion of a very special mission: growing medical marijuana for the country. Army officials announced that the first shipment of 1,600 5-gram jars is ready for shipment to Italian hospitals and pharmacies in need. Italy passed medical marijuana laws in 2007, but the country has been importing cannabis from the Netherlands at a price deemed too high for Italy’s patients, so the government finally stepped in.

The 1,600 Italian-made cannabis shipments are lined up on a table at a pharmaceutical plant in Florence — little medical soldiers awaiting further instructions.  Final directives are expected to come in the next few days once the Ministry of Health gives their final sign-off. 

Each crop takes the soldiers about 90 days to grow from seed to packaged product, providing up to four harvests for a total of 70.54 lbs/year.

The next step for Italian medical marijuana is for the cultivators to create different strains of the plant to treat a wider variety of medical conditions.  The Ministry of Health is hoping to yield 100 kilograms (220 pounds) per year eventually.  That is what the government body has deemed is a suitable amount to quell public demand, but patients have said that it won’t be enough.

Regardless of supply and demand, the domestic cultivation of cannabis in Italy marks a significant step toward the end of marijuana prohibition in Western Europe.  Italy’s move effectively opens the door to a domestic cannabis industry in a country known for taking extreme pride in the quality of goods produced.  Italians have a dominant stake in the worlds of food, automobiles, fashion, and design. Perhaps in the future, they’ll be able to add cannabis to their list of exquisite products.

Italy has been a leader of commercial products and an example for other countries in the region.  One can only hope that neighboring nations will follow, and create an interconnected European cannabis industry. 

(Photo Courtesy of David Iliff)

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