It was widely reported last week that Italy had legalised the sale of hemp flower.
However, the law was blocked by the head of Italy’s Senate in a huge blow to the blossoming low-THC cannabis industry.
Hemp flower in Italy
Along with Switzerland, Italy is one of Europe’s leading producers of high-grade hemp flower, otherwise known as CBD flower or ‘cannabis light’ in Italy.
The THC limit for growing hemp in Italy has been 0.6% since 2017, but Parliament updated that to 0.5% or less following the budget amendment. THC is the primary psychoactive component in cannabis which causes the ‘high’ associated with the plant, although others there are more.
There are no limits on other cannabinoids, however, such as CBD, CBG, and THCV.
The parliament approval of the law was widely celebrated by those involved in the production and sale hemp flower, as well as consumers (recreational and medical) and advocates.
It was seen as huge win in light of former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s attempted crackdown on the industry, which saw a number of hemp flower shops closed all over the country.
In a bitter blow, however, the president of the Senate deemed the amendment “inadmissible” on technical grounds. The decision cannot be appealed.
President Maria Elisabetta Caselatti is a member of Forza Italia, a far-right party and ally of Salvini’s League. She made a point to state that her decision was not politically motivated.
Casellati also told members of the Italian parliament to propose a bill if the law is so important.
While Italy’s Supreme Court did very recently rule that growing small amounts of cannabis at home for private use is legal, it is not clear how this one will play out.
Low-THC cannabis is a hot topic in Italy and many other European countries. Some have embraced hemp flower, some have banned it altogether, and some chosen to ignore it (the UK).