Article by Angus MacKinnon, TheLocal.it
It’s every stoner’s nightmare: marijuana plants as far as the eye can see and not a spliff in sight.
“No, I have never tried it, and I don’t have any intention of trying it either,” says Antonio Medica, the colonel in charge of the Italian military’s cannabis laboratory in Florence.
As he inspects pristine plant buds destined to be cut and dried into a version of the drug for medical use, the veteran officer is nonetheless sure he is producing some really good stuff.
“Absolutely yes, I can assure you of that,” says Medica, who is wearing surgeon’s scrubs over his uniform. “We have done the tests.”
In the doorway of a growing room that resembles a cross between a science lab and a steamy greenhouse, Medica explains how he ended up producing top-grade weed for Italy’s health service.
“One of my colleagues was joking with me the other day: ‘We spent 40 years trying to stop the troops smoking it in the barracks and now we are producing it ourselves’,” he told AFP.
In reality, it is a serious business. The quality has to be reliable because the output from the military’s Cannabis Project Team is destined for patients, not potheads.