Italy has a very interesting relationship with legal weed. From the recent cannabis light, to their medical marijuana program, and the Supreme Court’s recent ruling, it’s a confusing time to be a stoner in Italy.
Disclaimer: We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this article at the time of reading. We take no responsibility for any inaccurate information.
Cannabis Light In Italy
Cannabis light came into existence due to a legal loophole with the countries laws. Hemp could be legally sold within the country, and there was no distinction between selling hemp for materials, or selling hemp flower.
Hemp flower is essentially a high CBD, low THC version to standard cannabis, which is normally high THC, low CBD. This “cannabis light” was sold in shops, although it could not be legally consumed or smoked. Instead, it was legally being sold as a research tool, or for technical use. Actually, legally might not be the correct word. This whole market was a gray area at best.
Why Cannabis Light Became A Thing
Italy used to be a huge hemp producer. In fact, some records indicate that Italy was the world’s second largest hemp producer in the 1940’s, only behind the Soviet Union, which had an area over 74 times as large. Given the uncertain methods of record-keeping, some think China may have actually been the second largest producer, but either way, Italy was one of the largest.
Due to the introduction of drug control treaties, and synthetic fibers becoming available, the Italian hemp market was in drastic decline. Fast forward to a few years ago, and we saw Italy wanting to once again become one of the world’s top hemp producers.
Within the European Union, which Italy is a part of, the cut-off point between hemp and marijuana is 0.2% THC. Controlling this limit comes with extreme difficulties, so to give its domestic market a competitive advantage, Italy raised this limit to 0.6% THC in 2016. This gave hemp farmers a lot more leeway, reducing the amount of unsuitable hemp, which increased their overall hemp yields.
Weed containing 0.6% THC is significantly less than what you’d typically find in dispensaries in parts of the US or Canada. Regardless, there was a lot of push-back from members of Government and citizens across the country.
Supreme Court Ruling
In December 2019, Italy’s Supreme Court ruled that “growing small amounts of cannabis domestically for the exclusive use of the grower” no longer remains a criminal offense. The details of this ruling are yet to be worked out, however, as this ruling contradicts Italy’s current laws.
It still remains unclear what the limit is on “small amounts”. This ruling was based on someone growing two plants at home, so presumably the limit would be that or higher.
Ireland And Weed
Although the legal recreational weed market in Italy is confusing at best, its medical market is a lot more straight forward.
Medical Weed In Italy
Medical weed is legal in Italy, and has been since 2013. The list of qualifying conditions to access the program is similar to others around the globe:
- Chronic pain
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
- Spinal injury
Also like a lot of other global markets, patients need to have tried more traditional methods of treatment first. Patients are also not allowed to grow their own marijuana, although with the recent Supreme Court ruling, this could be changing soon.
Marijuana Laws of Iceland
The only approved method of using medical marijuana is by ingesting or smoking. Patients also must receive their medical weed from a pharmacist, after obtaining a doctors prescription.
The European Cannabis Market
The European cannabis market is currently seeing a huge amount of growth, whether that’s from recreational use, medical use, to a growing number of regions now having “tolerated use“.
Denmark has seen tolerated use in the central Copenhagen region of Christiania for years now. They are expected to soon trial a legal recreational market for Copenhagen, and then presumably expand to the whole country if successful.
Spain has also seen a huge increase in recreational use, largely due to its implemented “right to privacy laws”. And as for the world-renowned weed-friendly city of Amsterdam, it still continues to see high levels of tourism for that factor alone. It’s an exciting time for cannabis enthusiasts in Italy, and all across Europe, as we see legal weed becoming a reality.