One of the most damaged countries by the coronavirus pandemic has been Italy, not only by the number of deceased people but also because its economy was left in shambles. Still, experts believe that the cannabis industry could be the savior of the Italian economy, creating more than 300,000 jobs, thanks to the growing popularity of cannabis light in the past couple of months.
Italy, like most countries, will suffer a large loss of jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The hemp industry with “cannabis light” could be a great opportunity for the creation of more jobs. However, it seems that this possible solution would be difficult to “reach a successful conclusion.”
A study conducted by the University of Messina estimated that 345,000 jobs could be generated in Italy if cannabis would be legalized.
“I challenge economists to find a sector that can provide the same prospects,” said Matteo Gracis, an Italian pro-cannabis activist and author of the book “Hemp: An Incredible Story.”
He also spoke about the reasons that led to the prohibition of hemp in the middle of the last century. These were related to the pressure from US oil, pharmaceutical and paper lobbyists; they were really economical. “They couldn’t find other points of support to ban hemp that disrupted their business,” he emphasized, “they focused on recreational use, the only one that could pose a problem.”
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During the past months there has been an increase in cannabis light consumption
In recent months in Italy, there was an increase of more than 30% in the consumption of light cannabis. During the confinement caused by the pandemic, the sales of cannabis flowers were multiplied by three. In fact, during the month of March, more cannabis was sold than in 2019. Cannabis light or hemp does not exceed 0.5% THC concentration.
This variety of cannabis with low THC content has become very popular thanks to its CBD content. CBD is the compound in cannabis that determines a pleasant relaxing effect on the person who takes it. CBD is not a psychotropic substance and on the contrary, has significant benefits as anxiolytic and anxiety-reducing effects. It is also a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, and antipsychotic.
Italy could become a major cannabis producer in the coming years
The young Italian hemp producer, Lucio Boschi, owner of Veridia, who cultivates hemp on 100 hectares in the province of Pescara, said in an interview to Open:
“In Italy, we have the best climate in the world for growing hemp, even Americans want to invest in our country. And instead, what happens? We are not free to produce, so we are losing opportunities and unique investments from abroad (in his company he invested a Dutch-Canadian fund). This is a market ready to take off, it could even be compared to the high fashion sector or the wine sector.”
He continued: “We have the same potential, we could employ thousands of people, we could be the leaders in hemp cultivation. And instead, we have no clear laws, we remain in the shadows and, meanwhile, we continue to finance the black market.”
“In short, the legal cannabis market could be the driving force in our country, especially at a time of crisis like this due to the health emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” Lucio Boschi concluded.
During these weeks, in Italy, there has been a great deal of commotion for the Government to legislate and clarify once and for all this new industry of cannabis light. Although the Italian Government must legislate in line with the European Union, a nod from the executive is expected for this new industry capable of raising and creating jobs.
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First published in La Marihuana, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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