Italy’s Health Ministry has shocked the country’s cannabis industry by lifting the suspension of a decree dated October 1st, 2020. The decree, which was suspended at the end of October 2020, was aimed at classifying CBD extracts for oral administration as narcotics. In short, CBD oils will be treated as drugs that can only be prescribed through doctors and will only be available in pharmacies.
Read more about the ban on CBD oil in Italy and find the latest cannabis news from around the world with the Hemp.im mobile app.
Provisions of the decree and their implications on the CBD market
The decree clearly indicated “the inclusion in the list of drugs, Section B, of Presidential Decree 309/90, of compositions for the oral administration of cannabidiol (CBD) obtained from Cannabis extracts.” The introduction will take effect 30 days after publication in the Official Gazette, which is September 21, 2023. After that date, the sale of cannabinoids in the form of oils or other extracts will be allowed only in pharmacies and under medical control.
However, let’s remember that cannabidiol (CBD) is an endogenous molecule, and unlike drugs such as benzodiazepines or opiates, cannabinoids are naturally produced by our bodies, and consuming oils, even with high CBD content, does not cause side effects, precisely because of our body’s ability to absorb these active ingredients, which are not foreign to it.
If the decree goes into effect, Italy could become the only country in Europe to recognize oral CBD preparations as narcotics. This change will affect both existing and future products on the Italian market. CBD oils may disappear from retail sales unless they are made with synthetic CBD, which is not regulated. Moreover, the future of CBD-rich industrial hemp also seems uncertain.
European Union’s position on CBD
Interestingly, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that CBD-based products in EU member states should not be treated as drugs and should be freely available.
Lawyer Carlo Alberto Zaina noted that there is room for collective legal action against the decree within 60 days of its publication in the Official Gazette. “When an entire industry loses its rights to free enterprise, it is essential to organize a united front and take the necessary judicial action to protect the numerous companies and jobs associated with the sector,” Zaina stressed.
What’s next for CBD oil in Italy?
The changes to the law are controversial and have caused a big stir in the cannabis sector. However, there is a chance to appeal the decree and defend the rights of entrepreneurs. Regardless of the outcome, the hemp industry in Italy faces major challenges that could affect its future and market dynamics on a European scale.
The final decisions in this case will be important not only for Italy but also for the entire European CBD market. Only time will tell what the long-term consequences of these changes will be.
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First published in Fakty Konopne. A third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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