Demand, meet supply
Italy legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes last year, but few patients signed up. The reasons, Reuters says, include a stigma against pot smoking in Catholic Italy and, more pragmatically, cost. At the pharmacy, a gram of medical marijuana — imported from the Netherlands — costs about 38 euros ($48), versus about 5 euros ($6.30) a gram on the street. (That's roughly $180 an ounce on the street vs. $1,360 an ounce in the pharmacy.)
To solve this problem, plus take a swipe at the mafia organizations peddling pot on the street, Italy has called out the army. Starting in 2015, a high-security army lab in Florence will start growing medical-grade marijuana for patients, and about half of Italy's 20 regional governments have said they plan to give it out free to qualified patients. The army will probably use strains developed by Italy's foremost legal pot breeder, Gianpaolo Grassi (this is not a joke — we checked).
Army-grown cannabis is a "logical solution" to Italy's medical marijuana supply-and-demand problem, Grassi tells Reuters. "Some political decisions are tied to country's Catholic mentality," he said. "This makes growing medical cannabis agreeable for everyone."