The Italian Parliament recently introduced a new legislation on Cannabis that aims at introducing products derived from the plant in the market, the law is the 242 of December 2016. This regulation is the first step towards legalization of Marijuana and was introduced following some of the EU directives.
SO WHAT CHANGES WITH THE NEW LAW?
The new features introduced by the new law are mainly three:
– No authorization is required for cultivating hemp with a maximum THC content of 0.2% with a tolerance level up to 0.6%. So it means that communication to the nearest police station (State Police, Carabinieri, Guardia di Finanza) through a complaint form, is no longer necessary.
Although it is no longer mandatory, the orientation is to communicate it anyway to avoid any problem.
The only obligations for the grower is to keep the seeds’ invoice and technical documents for a period of no less than twelve months.
– The percentage of THC in the analyzed plants can fluctuate from 0.2% to 0.6% without causing any problem for the farmer. Any checks will be performed by a single authority and always in the presence of the farmer, and the inspectors are required to issue a sample taken for possible counter-checks. In the event that the percentage of THC exceeds the threshold of 0.6%, the judicial authority may order the seizure or destruction of the crop, but also in this case “the farmer’s responsibility is excluded”.
– Government Funds of up to € 700k a year are foreseen “to favour the improvement of production and processing conditions in the hemp sector”.
Now the Ministry of Health has 6 months to legislate on a matter that is dear to all producers of hemp for food and cosmetic use, namely the percentage of THC that can be contained in body care products and foods for human use. As of today, the Ministry of Health had failed to give any communication on the matter and the industry is auto-regulating. With the new regulation, many startups have appeared in the last year and a new Cannabis Store is opened every day.
BUT HOW BIG IS THE ITALIAN MARKET?
Cannabis still represents the number one illegal drug of choice among Italians. This is due to Italy’s role as a significant importer from other countries that grow it, but also to its internal production. Of note is the fact that cannabinoids make up 90% of all drugs confiscated in Italy. Despite increasing popularity of new substances that have entered the market, marijuana remains the preference among Italian young people as well as adults. Around 1/3 of the population has admitted to having tried it at least once in the course of their lifetime, while over 1/4 of high-school students report having smoked it in 2016. Of these, however, as many as 90,000 claims to use it every day and approximately 150,000 reports problematic usage. These data emerged in the annual report made by the government offices in charge of anti-drug policies and sent to the Italian Parliament for the year 2017. The total consumers are a total of 4M with a Total Available Market of €50B.
THE NEW LOW-THC MARKET: SAFER, BETTER, LEGAL.
The low-THC marijuana market continues to become more and more important, and according to the regulations in force it is not to be considered illegal if the active substance remains between 0.2% and 0.6%. These are really dark areas of Italian law, according to some, which gave way to several companies to launch what is called ‘cannabis light’ on the market. Brands like MamaMary – Legal Cannabis, a startup producing and commercializing some of the world’s best CBD flowers created a new market and is growing rapidly opening Cannabis Stores all around Europe and expanding their High Tech Indoor Cultivations.
There are many names and the brands continue to pop at the speed of light, with a strong demand from users. “It smokes but does not break you” is the definition that several national newspapers have given to the Cannabis Light.