The plants are expected to yield around 220 pounds of medication annually.
In a bid to cut down the price of medical marijuana in the country, Italy has unveiled its first military-managed cannabis farm. The plants are expected to yield around 220 pounds of medication annually, and are being cultivated in a secure room at the Stabilimento Chimico Farmaceutico Militare in Florence.
Doctors in Italy are allowed to legally prescribe medicinal marijuana, but the cost of the substance is not covered by the state. Currently, medical marijuana is imported to Italy from abroad, and can cost patients up to 35 euros (39.24 USD) a gram. Colonel Antonio Medica told Corriere TV that he hopes to bring the price down to under 15, perhaps even 5, euros per gram.
Image via Flickr user Mark
"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," Medica told the website.
The Stabilimento Chimico Farmaceutico Militare is a medicine-producing branch of Italy’s military that produces drugs to treat its armed forces, and has provided orphan drugs for rare illnesses used throughout Europe in the past. The branch was approved to produce cannabis so that it could be used in herbal preparations and remedies that have been proven to be effective in treating afflictions such as glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, cancer, AIDS, and neoplastic diseases. Previously existing facilities as well as guaranteed security and surveillance made the branch a natural choice for state production of medical marijuana.
This joint operation between Italy’s Minister of Health and the Minister of Defense displays a pioneering acceptance of modern scientific information, and stands to save patients a good deal of money on their treatments.