The Italian army has started growing cannabis in a military pharmaceutical plant outside of Florence in order to drive down prices for medical marijuana across the country.
And so far, the first batch is coming along well, according to the Corriere della Sera website.
“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,” Italian Colonel Antonio Medica told Corriere della Sera, according to a translation from the Independent.
Medical marijuana in Italy has been growing prohibitively expensive. Although the drug is legal for medical use, private cultivation of cannabis is prohibited and the vast majority of medical plants are imported into Italy from the Netherlands.
This has caused the price of marijuana sold in pharmacies to soar. A single gram may cost as much as 35 Euros (approximately $US40), according to the Smithsonian Magazine. The Army is hoping to produce a 200-pound yield of marijuana, with the aims of driving medical prices down to just $US17 a gram.
In September, Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said that the military facility outside of Florence was chosen to cultivate marijuana due to its combination of facilities and surveillance security systems.
The BBC reports that the Italian facility even comes prepared with drying and packing facilities for when the marijuana is ready for harvest.
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