Mama mia! In a drastic move to curtail medicinal marijuana users from buying pot in the black market, Italy plans to use its military to grow weed for the sick masses.
The Italian government has already set up a high-security compound in Florence to grow cannabis for the national healthcare system in the face of outraged politicians and religious authorities, among them Senator and anti-drug campaigner Carlos Giovanardi.
He’s complained to the Italian press that the move would lead to “a society of zombies” and that “curing sick people does not become an excuse to expand the use of the substance.”
Italy legalized marijuana for medicinal use last year, but it has been slow to catch on because of the stigma associated with being in a staunchly Catholic country. Still, the Italian government has been working to keep the cost of medical marijuana down by cultivating its own cannabis. Officials hope to offer patients safe, legal and affordable pain relief to citizens of a country that strongly opposes drug use.
According to the Independent, the price of pharmacy-bought weed imported from Holland currently costs up to 10 times as much as street prices at around 38 euros per gram. However, Italy’s healthcare system does not cover the cost of pharmacy cannabis so patients who cannot afford it buy marijuana from street dealers.