Italy is taking a big step towards medical cannabis accessibility. This week, Italy’s Health Minister announced that medical cannabis will be sold in Italian pharmacies. Furthermore, private companies will soon be able to produce cannabis as the nation fails to meet demand. Years after medical marijuana became legal, people suffering from debilitating conditions are finally getting a convenient and affordable way to get medical cannabis in Italy.
Italy Legalized Medical Cannabis In 2006
In 2006, Italy legalized medical marijuana, which has increased in popularity ever since. According to the New York Times, Italian medical cannabis consumption is 10 times what it was in 2014. Instead of 40 kilograms annually, it’s now 400 kg.
Similar to many US states, qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in Italy include multiple sclerosis, pain, nausea, Tourette’s syndrome. They’ve also added other conditions like anorexia, anxiety and insomnia.
The expansion of medical cannabis in Italy is a victory accessibility. However, Italy’s medical marijuana production structure lags behind. All medical cannabis in Italy comes from one producer, the Military Pharmaceutical Plant, which, as its name would suggest, is government-run. The nation’s only legal weed farmer could not meet demand last fall, resulting in shortages and a spike in black market activity.
The only other legal option is importing medical cannabis from other big cannabis producing nations. Currently, Italy turns to the Netherlands and Canada to supply its ever-growing market.
Not only is this a missed opportunity for Italy, but imported medical cannabis is unaffordable for most Italians. According to Growing Marijuana Tips, a gram of medical cannabis can cost around €38, which is around $44. By comparison, illegal weed costs around €10.
Italian Pharmacies Will Soon Sell Medical Cannabis
Health Minister Giulia Grillo is putting a stop to medical marijuana shortages. On Tuesday, Grillo visited the Military Pharmaceutical Plant, according to Italian newspaper the Republic of Florence. She noted that one operation could not supply the nation’s booming medical cannabis industry.
“I will make every effort to ensure that medical cannabis is available in all pharmacies to ensure the continuity of treatment to which you are entitled,” Grillo announced on her Facebook. She also posted a photo of herself meeting with Italy’s Cannabis Committee.
The future of medical cannabis in Italy is both public and private, according to Grillo. This means allowing Italian pharmacies sell their own weed, and expanding the medical cannabis in Italy so private companies can supply growing demand.
Private Companies Will Produce Medical Cannabis In Italy
Italian officials have not given an official start date for when private companies will produce medical cannabis. However, the health minister has the people’s support in her quest to make medical cannabis accessible.
Furthermore, Italy’s medical marijuana policy contrasts with the American one. Contrastingly, we have had privatized medical marijuana production since its inception. However, health insurance never covers medical cannabis. On top of that, Americans are not universally entitled to even basic healthcare. The motivation for officials to make medical cannabis in Italy accessible does not even exist in the US.
Though Italy’s bureaucratic system has stopped the nation from profiting off of medical marijuana farming, it may soon outpace us with a health care system that includes medical cannabis.