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Jul 02

Italy Is Leading the Way Toward Pot Legalization and Innovation – High Times

Italy is becoming one of the most progressive countries in Europe for cannabis cultivation, production and innovation. Or maybe it has always been. Alongside olives, tomatoes and the world’s best lemons, Italy has been growing hemp and cannabis for hundreds of years as industrial crops. Cannabis was essential to Italy’s shipping industry, which it supplied with material to make ropes, rigging and sails. In fact, Italy was one of the world’s top hemp producers during the first half of the 20th century, before growers and consumers were undercut by prohibition and synthetic materials. Now, with the help of the government, Italy is moving back into its position as one the most important European countries in the cannabis industry. Italy legalized medical marijuana in 2007 but was slow to roll out its program—because, like in so many other places, doctors were reluctant to consider it an option, citing uncertainty over dosage, how to administer it and what illnesses it would benefit. Yet, the legal industry persisted, for example, in the fields of the southern state of Apulia, where farmers say they prefer to live off their land and grow cannabis rather than seek higher-paying jobs in cities, according to a report in National Geographic. Then there is the Italian military’s Cannabis Project Team, which started churning out quality MMJ in preparation for doctors to get on board, which they have by the way. The availability of an Italian-grown product has made everything a lot easier. “We’ve had a lot of requests, particularly since people heard about it in the media,” said chemist Gianna Acciai. “Doctors are prescribing it—and we’ve sold almost all of the first batch that we got in early January. The patients also save money in comparison with the Dutch product—it’s 30 percent cheaper in comparison.” Now, cannabis growers say they can barely keep up with demand from doctors and patients and are looking to expand.

Source: Italy Is Leading the Way Toward Pot Legalization and Innovation – High Times