Italy chose its Army to be the sole grower of marijuana for medical purposes to cut costs. However, Italian patients still suffer from pain. Cannabis is expensive and only comes in small supplies.
Italy, where the army is the de facto cultivator of marijuana, had ordered 100 kilos in November from abroad due shortage in the country, the local Il Fatto Quotidiano daily reported on Friday.
“[Marijuana] stocks had run out, and patients were left without drugs,” wrote Susanna Marietti, a reporter at il Fatto Quotidiano. “The Italian government ordered 100 kilos of cannabis from abroad,” she added.
Like many other countries in western Europe, Italy has legalized medical cannabis in 2013 but there are many issues revolving around its production. The Italian government placed its army to be in charge of growing marijuana to cut high costs and wean off itself from Dutch imports.
But the Italian Association for Civil Liberty & Rights (CILD) reported in December that patients had to resort to the “black market and self-cultivation” as a result of the shortage of medical marijuana, The EU Observer reported on Friday.
In the EU, only Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Poland and Spain currently allow medical. However, few other European countries are planning to legalize it. Using marijuana recreationally is already decriminalized in member states such as the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, and Luxembourg.
Sometimes in Europe medical and recreational marijuana are both perceived as the same.
Vincenzo Costigliola is the president of the European Medical Association which represents doctors. He said there is an improvement in terms of “growing focus” on fighting pain, and the need for medical marijuana, reported the EU Observer.
“We have moved from considering cannabis only as a drug, to rediscovering it as a medicine,” said Costigliola, reported the EU Observer.
While in the EU, there is a number of legally and socially-accepted medicines – especially pain relief drugs. Many which are chemically-related to illegal substances like opium or cocaine. The story remains different for cannabis.
There is still that “stigma,” Costigliola said.