Italy once again designates CBD as a narcotic in a policy flip-flop

Italy once again designates CBD as a narcotic in a surprising policy reversal

The Italian government has once again reversed its stance on CBD and has issued a new decree classifying the hemp-derived compound as a narcotic substance.

This change comes after a similar decree in 2020 was quickly overturned, and a subsequent 2022 decree that banned CBD was ultimately invalidated by a regional court in Lazio. The court ordered authorities to align Italian law with the regulations of the European Union.

In a legally binding ruling applicable to all member states of the European Union, the European Commission declared in 2020 that CBD is not a narcotic. This decision was made following a significant ruling by the European Union Court of Justice earlier that same year.

Industry quick to criticize

The most recent decree from the Italian Ministry of Health, published in the government’s Official Gazette last month, will take effect on September 21.

Various organizations within the Italian cannabis industry have expressed their criticism of the government’s latest actions:

“If this provision were to take effect as it stands, it would undoubtedly have a significant impact on all companies involved in the production, processing, and marketing of CBD-based hemp extracts of natural origin,” stated Canapa Sativa Italia, an industry association. “The sale of these products would require a complex registration process with the Ministry of Health, which is completely inappropriate for a substance like CBD, which poses no risks.”

The hemp federation Federcanapa stated that the decree would harm local producers, but it would not prevent the distribution of CBD-infused food and cosmetics imported from other European countries.

‘Choking’ the sector

Viola Brugnatelli, a neuropharmacologist and co-founder of the online cannabis academy Cannabiscienza, told the website that “the decree will once again stifle the economy of the sector because it effectively bans the sale of a substance that has been introduced over-the-counter as a form of cannabis for many patients.”

Carlo Alberto Zaina, an industry lawyer and drugs policy expert, called for unity within the CBD industry to fight against this decree. He stated, “The only way to counter this unacceptable drift is through a new, ongoing legal battle in which all interested parties can join as consortium members; their very existence depends on it,” during an interview with Dolce Vita Online.

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