Italian Army aims for self-sufficient cannabis market

In a bid to become self-sufficient in the field of legal medical cannabis, Italy is growing plants using secret nutrients in ultra-clean rooms managed with military precision. No wonder it called in the Army to handle the task.

Next year, the Italian service plans to produce 700 kilograms (1,543 pounds) of top-grade cannabis to cover nearly half of the 1,500 kilograms (3,307 pounds) required annually in the country for those in need of pain relief, such as people with cancer or Parkinson’s disease.

“The next step is self-sufficiency — that’s our ambition,” said Nicola Latorre, who leads the Italian Defence Industries Agency, which oversees the operation. The agency, which is an arm of the Defence Ministry, handles the commercialization of the state’s defense enterprises.

Cannabis the Army cannot yet grow is imported from Holland, Canada, Denmark, and Germany, but production is ramping up at an anonymous-looking Army facility on the edge of Florence. “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, the head of the facility.


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