ep, it’s true. Italy’s Army is in charge of growing and producing top-grade medical marijuana and is using secret nutrients to cultivate cannabis for those suffering from illnesses like cancer or Parkinson’s disease.
This year, the Army plans to produce at least 1,500 pounds of weed to cover nearly half the amount required annually to meet the country’s medical marijuana needs.
“The next step is self-sufficiency — that’s our ambition,” said Nicola Latorre, who leads the Italian Defense Industries Agency, which oversees the operations. The agency, an arm of Italy’s Defense Ministry, handles the commercialization of the enterprises.
Also in 2023, the Army intends to produce cannabis-infused olive oil, which users can take in drop form.
Earliest Medical Marijuana Market In Europe
Italy is one of the earliest and largest medical marijuana (MMJ) markets in Europe with double-digit growth for the past several years, yet it has not been able to meet patients’ needs. Now the Defense Ministry has a monopoly over domestic cultivation in an effort to beef up production, which it’s doing at an anonymous-looking Army facility on the edge of Florence, reports Defense News.
What the Army can’t produce is still being imported from the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark and Germany.
Why The Army, You Ask? Experience And Efficiency
In its effort to become self-sufficient in medical research and production…who better to put in charge but the Army? After all, the Army has been in the pharmaceutical business for decades during which time it has been producing chemical warfare antidotes and malaria pills for soldiers.
“What we can do in Florence is produce a highly standardized product so the dosage is unvaried, at the same price as we are now paying for imports,” said Col. Gabriele Picchioni, head of the facility that was launched in 2014 and has been increasing its output annually thanks to more growing rooms.
Latorre noted that his agency’s activities facilitated a growing shift toward military involvement in the public health sector, which was on display during the pandemic when Army personnel set up treatment tents and transported vaccines.
“COVID made us see how public health is tied to the defense of the country and its security,” Latorre said.
Cannabis company in Italy: In 2019, Aurora Cannabis
ACB-1.48%+ Free Alerts was selected as the only winner of the Italian government’s public tender to supply medical cannabis.
The Army also manufactures so-called orphan drugs – medicines for rare diseases or conditions that big companies ignore because of the low production rates. (Full Story)