In a move that all of us here at the All Things Hemp Shop hope to see copied by other governments, Italy is leading the way on ensuring CBD is an accessible alternative remedy.
The Italian Health Minister, Roberto Speranza, suspended a decree that would have classified CBD as a narcotic drug, according to an article in the Italian newspaper La Stampa.
Under this decree, CBD was set to be classified as a narcotic substance in Italy despite having no psychoactive effects. A decree established earlier in the year by the Ministry of Health stated in the table of medicines based on narcotic active substances that “compositions for oral administration of cannabidiol obtained from cannabis extracts” should be included. The market was given a reprieve on 28th October, with a new decree that was signed with the intention of convening a working group to address the matter.
Italy has a very active market for CBD, especially the lo-THC cannabis flower. Called "Cannabis light", CBD rich hemp flowers have been permitted for sale in Italy since 2016, due to a change in the law. Openly advertised and available on the high street, these dried flowers can contain up to 0.6% THC by law which is 3x higher than the EU limit of 0.2%.
The Ministry of Health will now gather to address the matter "systematically and comprehensively". It also invited the Higher Institute of Health and the Higher Council of Health to evaluate "whether the effects of the active substance cannabidiol remain unchanged regardless of the percentage use of the same".
A study conducted in 2019 by the University of Magna Graecia, Université Catholique de Louvain, and the Erasmus School of Economics showed that Police confiscations of illegal marijuana declined once cannabis light became an easily accessible alternative, along with a reduction of arrests for drug-related offences. This study suggested that this legal market, which is rapidly growing, removed around €90 - €170 million a year from the hands of organized crime.