Would the US Army Grow Great Weed?
The headline is correct even if it might seem a bit unbelievable to most of us here in America. The Italian army has taken charge of the cultivation and production of top-grade medical marijuana in the country. They are not stopping there as they are also cultivating their cannabis in a special way with the use of secret nutrients to help in dealing with cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
The year 2023 will see more of the same trend for the dealings of the Italian army with cannabis. The army is expected to produce over 1,500 pounds of weed this year. The weed to be produced by the army is set to be about half the total amount of weed used in the country’s medical marijuana program yearly. This shows that the army is quite dependent on the medicinal use of cannabis and they might know more than they are letting on.
Nicola Latorre is the head of the Italian Defense Industries Agency which is the arm that oversees the operations of production of top-grade cannabis. She commented on the development of the operations of the army recently where she stated that the next step for the army now is self-sufficiency. She stated that this is an ambition that the army believes it can achieve within the shortest time possible. The Italian Defense Industries Agency is an arm of the Defense Ministry of the country and it takes care of the commercialization of the enterprise.
While the army seems intent on achieving self-sufficiency in the not-so-distant future, Latorre has hinted at the body’s plan to diversify in 2023. The army hopes to produce cannabis-infused olive oil to enable users to use the product in drop form. This is sure to be groundbreaking once the army achieves it and will increase the number of beneficiaries of medical marijuana within the system.
The move by the Italian army follows the trend being set by Italy when it comes to cannabis and acceptance. The country was one of the first nations in Europe to accept medical marijuana and set up a working program for its people. It has since grown the medical marijuana market to be one of the largest across Europe. This is evident as the sector has seen growth at a double-digit rate over the last couple of years. Despite this level of growth, the medicinal marijuana market is still unable to attain the desired level of effectiveness as much of the patient’s needs are yet to be met. This makes the monopoly of the army on the domestic production of cannabis a bit confusing to many.
The reality of cannabis production in Italy is that there is not enough supply to cater for the ever-increasing demand. Cultivation of cannabis by the army according to Defense News is being done at an anonymous army facility in Florence. The cannabis being produced at this center is suboptimal to the needs of the nation and so more is being imported from Canada, Netherlands, Germany, and the Netherlands. The Italian Supreme Court struck down recreational cannabis for now.This has since been identified by some as a flaw in the operating system that grants the monopoly of production to the army when the public is not being catered for enough.
The question on so many people’s lips is why the army is being granted the monopoly of production. It will be wrong of us however to completely ignore the track record of the army in this field over the years before answering that question. The army has shown great efficiency and dexterity in the aspect of the pharmaceutical business for decades which makes it dependable in the push for self-sufficiency in medical research and production. The army has embarked on similar operations such as the production of malaria oils and chemical warfare antidotes for its soldiers. This makes the army equipped enough to carry out the role.
Col. Gabriele Picchioni is head of the cannabis production facility of the army in Florence and he talked up the operations there so far. He states that the product being produced in the facility is a highly standardized product with unvaried dosages. He also explained that product is produced at a cost that is equal to that of products being imported from other countries. Picchioni stated that this has since seen the annual output of the nation increase due to an increase in the number of growing rooms.
The activities of the agency so far have increased the interest and involvement of the military in the public health sector. The army showed this during the pandemic when it set up treatment tents and transported vaccines. Latorre reiterated this by stating that COVID showed how the defence of the country is tied to its security.
The army is set to be utilizing the medicinal benefits of cannabinoids embedded in cannabis to deal with conditions plaguing its soldiers. While it can be argued that these conditions such as cancer and Parkinson’s plague civilians too, the efficiency of the army with research is exceptional. This has been shown recurrently across several fields that the army has stepped into. Therefore, the exploration of the medicinal benefits of cannabis is expected to follow the same trend and it seems to be well on its way at the moment.
It’s obvious now that it’s not entirely out of place that the Italian army is deeply into cannabis production and making the most out of it. The track record, experience, and efficiency of the arm speak for themselves and cannot be over-emphasized. However, the issues with the monopoly are still very genuine. In a country that depends on imports for half of the volume it consumes, probably there can be a better way to go about local production. Until then, the status quo remains that local production is majorly favouring the Italian army and they are making the most of the privilege at the moment.