In this article we will talk to you about how hemp cultivation could represent a solution to the ongoing economic crisis. We know how much this sector has grown in recent years, despite the difficulties generated by a regulatory system that is not yet clear. The data and what they represent in economic terms speak clearly. Specifically we will tell you:
- 10 thousand jobs with Cannabis
- Cannabis and #Lockdown restrictions
- Reclaiming polluted land with cannabis
Hemp cultivation is a million-euro business. Between the direct agricultural activity and the supply chain for the transformation of the raw material, the production of industrial hemp employs tens of thousands of people around the world .
The uses of this plant are infinite and its applications are many: ranging from agri-food to cosmetics , up to the textile, construction, medical and pharmaceutical sectors. According to Coldiretti, the therapeutic cannabis supply chain alone could guarantee Italians an income of 1.4 billion and at least 10 thousand jobs, from the cultivation of the fields to the production of bottles.
It comes to mind that, more than ever in this period of crisis, we could turn to cannabis and its many applications to try to get out of the economic stalemate caused by the coronavirus.
A legal market , an entire supply chain capable of generating billions of euros in earnings and creating new jobs.
The total lockdown that many countries had to resort to was a very hard blow to the economy : from one day to the next people were asked to stop and - together with the people - factories, a large part of commerce and the entertainment industry, which will most likely be the last to restart.
The scenario is not the most rosy and apparently the vaccine is not around the corner. According to a study by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, the epidemic will not stop until at least 60-70% of the population is infected.
According to Marc Lipsitch , director of the Harvard School of Public Health , "based on the most recent influenza pandemics, this (pandemic) will likely last 18 to 24 months." This is a period during which "herd immunity gradually develops in the population" while waiting for a vaccine that "probably will not be available until at least an unspecified date in 2021".
10 thousand jobs with therapeutic cannabis
At a national level, the requests for therapeutic cannabis-based products are constantly growing and can be satisfied above all thanks to imports from abroad. With the legalization of cannabis for therapeutic purposes, the Ministry of Health authorized cultivation in the Military Chemical-Pharmaceutical Plant of Florence .
When the measure came into force, the SCFM in Florence produced much less cannabis than today: in 2020 the military will be able to produce up to 500 kg of Cannabis inflorescences, 150 kg more than last year.
According to Coldiretti, however, there would be a way to radically change the situation: by using the spaces already available in the greenhouses abandoned or disused due to the crisis in the horticultural and floriculture sector, one thousand hectares of land under protected cultivation could immediately be obtained.
These are indoor environments that lend themselves to being easily monitored, allowing the regular carrying out of control procedures aimed at avoiding the risk of abuse. This is an important opportunity, to be carefully evaluated to say goodbye to dependence on foreign countries and finally have an all-Italian supply chain , which links chemicals and direct farmers.
According to Coldiretti, this experiment could be considered revolutionary, given that there could be many suitable terrains. Italy is the natural habitat of cannabis sativa: in the 1940s, over 100 thousand hectares were cultivated for industrial purposes, with very positive implications for the country's economy.
Unfortunately, more than one farm will not be able to restart after the emergency: rethinking agriculture in crisis under the sign of cannabis could be an excellent idea.
Cannabis and lockdown restrictions
The restrictions imposed by the fight against Covid-19 have profoundly changed everyone's habits, but - for some - they have been catastrophic.
If we had to get used to standing in long lines to go shopping, at the end of which we almost always managed to reach our goal, from the point of view of cannabis consumers the lockdown was even harder. The lockdown forced all light cannabis sales outlets to close and forced isolation kept drug dealers locked at home , completely ruining a market worth tens of thousands of euros a day.
If in Italy the situation has not been the most serious, since therapeutic cannabis is distributed through more direct channels with patients and legal cannabis is also easily found in vending machines, in the United States things have not been so simple.
Many American states have legalized cannabis in recent years and there the marijuana sales points were literally attacked shortly before the outbreak of the emergency and during the first days of lockdown, so much so that the authorities were forced to declare cannabis unnecessary and to close authorized dispensaries. It seems that this has led to the revaluation of home cultivation , to avoid incurring prolonged shortages of the product.
When the feeling began to circulate in the United States that the lockdown would soon begin for them too, many consumers trembled for their cannabis supplies and, in addition to stocking up on eggs and flour, they worried about grabbing as much as possible. as much product as possible within the legal limits.
In the first few days, the dispensaries authorized to sell cannabis were attacked, and the authorities decided to close them for reasons of safety and public order.
After a public outcry, however, San Francisco authorities had to reopen cannabis sales outlets, considering them an essential service when the lockdown was declared starting March 20.
California has been more lenient than Massachusetts which, despite citizens' protests, keeps dispensaries closed, excluding them from essential services and, in order not to expose themselves to the risk of being left without many American citizens, they have chosen to grow their own cannabis.
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The Chicago Tribune told the story of local epilepsy patient David Kurfman , who found himself without medical cannabis due to the closure of dispensaries authorized to sell the plant.
David really needs his marijuana and decides to invest $5,000 in lights, fans and other equipment needed for cultivation. He started his project at the beginning of the lockdown and will soon reap the fruits of his labor. And all in full compliance with the Illinois law that allows medical cannabis patients over 21 to grow five cannabis plants in a “completely enclosed space.”
Italy has also recently authorized the domestic cultivation of cannabis, following a decision by the United Sections of the Court of Cassation. According to the Supreme Court, domestic cultivation must be considered excluded from the criminal law that punishes the cultivation of cannabis, because due to its rudimentary nature it is considered incapable of harming public health, regardless of the THC content.
This is a historic ruling by the Court, which gives a jolt to the Italian situation, which has always been very uncertain on the topic of cannabis . The news arrived a few days ago, in the midst of the coronavirus emergency.
Certainly many Italian smokers will try to imitate David Kurfman , with the difference that in our country there is no limitation linked to the use of cannabis for therapeutic reasons.
Reclaim polluted land with hemp
There is another thing that could be done with cannabis to optimize resources and try to clean up the planet a little . During the lockdown, nature began to regenerate and, once the emergency was over, it would be nice to be able to resume our usual rhythms with a little more respect towards nature and the world around us.
According to some scientific studies, hemp has the power to purify the soil on which it is planted, absorbing and degrading contaminants through the natural action of plants. This is a perfect remediation technique in case of dioxin and heavy metal contamination, which is much more effective when carried out with industrial hemp. Hemp is capable of absorbing heavy metals and – unlike hyperaccumulator plants – can be harvested and used for industrial purposes and for energy production.
One of the characterizing aspects of the hemp plant is its very developed and deep root system , associated with a large capacity for absorbing liquids .
It is precisely the roots of the hemp plant that make it suitable for the reclamation of polluted land, precisely because it absorbs many more substances than other plant species. A study conducted in Hawaii (Kolosov CA Evaluating the public interest: regulation of industrial hemp under the controlled substances act. UCLA Law Review) revealed that hemp is able to lower the concentration of organic pollutants, especially hydrocarbons present in many industrial sites .
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Industrial hemp is therefore the ideal candidate if you want to combine a cash crop with the remediation of contaminated land, because it is capable of accumulating high concentrations of heavy metals in the leaves but not in the fibers , which can be used in the production of composite materials or for the production of energy in thermal power plants.
Constructing land is an excellent idea for making quick money through the sale of cannabis fiber and stems, but it can also be a good way to reclaim agricultural land , to be used to build a house, a hotel or a restaurant. , perfect for starting an entrepreneurial project conceived during the quarantine.
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In this video you can see up close how we grow cannabis in Italy