Italy is not known for it’s tolerance towards cannabis. For almost a decade, a law passed by a populist-conservative faction of Berlusconi’s government, made the possession of cannabis as bad as possessing hard drugs.
Although little has changed regarding charges for possession and consumption, the government has given permission to the Italian Army to start cultivating medical marijuana in order to make it cheaper to supply those few patients who are actually allowed to use it.
This is great news for people like Andrea, a 24 year old suffering from MS who had to supply himself from street dealers for over 4 years, which led to many unpleasant and intrusive visits from the police to his apartment.
The army has now officially ended the pilot project and is ready to step up production which will lead to a drastic price reduction. Currently Italy is purchasing its medical marijuana from The Netherlands and Canada at a price of around €35 per gram. This new initiative aims to lower the price to €15 or even €5 per gram.
Although far from discussing liberalisation or even decriminalisation for recreational use, this is indeed a small victory for associations like Lapiantiamo, that have been battling to help patients access legal marijuana for those who need it, without making them feel like criminals.
If you want to support their cause, they have an ongoing GoFundMe campaign running.