Medicinal cannabis is now available for free in the Sicily region of Italy.
While UK patients struggle to even get medicinal cannabis prescriptions on the NHS, thanks to a decree signed today by Sicilian health chief Ruggero Razza, patients with certain conditions on the Mediterranean island will now get their medical cannabis prescription free of charge.
The cost will be covered by the Sicilian regional government, according to local news.
Currently, medicinal cannabis is available to patients suffering from chronic pain, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis.
It has been legal in Italy since 2013, but patients have always been required to pay the cost of the prescription out of their own pockets.
Once patients in Italy have a doctor’s prescription, they can obtain the drug from a licensed pharmacy.
Pharmacies get it either from regulated growers outside Italy or from the Italian army.
In fact, it was an Italian medical marijuana strain grown by the army in which two newly discovered cannabinoids were found – one of which may be 30 times more potent than THC.
It was recently widely reported how Italy’s Supreme Court ruled that growing small quantities of cannabis at home for private use was no longer illegal, but official legislation still remains unclear.
There was also confusion last year when low-THC cannabis, or hemp flower, was almost legalised before the proposed law was thrown out by the Italian Senate at the last moment.