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Is Weed Legal in Italy? Yes and No.

Is Weed Legal in Italy? Yes and No.

is weed legal in Italy?
Like a lot of European countries, Italy has a complex history with cannabis.

Since 1990, Italy has had a relatively relaxed stance on cannabis use and possession. It was that year that the country passed a Consolidated Law which basically decriminalized cannabis use, but kept possession illegal. This made the question, is weed legal in Italy, seemingly less clear.

As confusing as this adjustment was, it wasn’t until 2014 that the Italian government clarified their position on cannabis. Law 79 was introduced, which essentially granted the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) the power to authorize off-label use of medicinal products (under certain conditions) if warranted by public interest (including for financial reasons) even where a valid therapeutic alternative was available.

Included in those medicinal products is cannabis. However the new law only legalized medical marijuana and clarified punishments for non-medical cannabis possession. First-time offenders for cannabis possession would just get a warning, while a follow-up offense leads to suspension of a driver’s license for one to three months.

After legalizing medical cannabis production in Italy, only the Ministry of Defence were permitted to grow it. As a result, the military-owned Institute of Pharmaceuticals in Florence is the only place that cultivates cannabis for medicinal use. Astonishing as it may seem, the Italian military are responsible for growing cannabis!

So you’re probably still asking, “is weed legal in Italy?” The short answer would appear to still be no. But in 2016, there we some big changes.

Italian hemp legalization

While hemp is actually native to certain regions in Europe, few countries have really regulated its production. In 2016, Italy decided to do just that.

In the United States, the Farm Bill was passed in 2018, which legalized industrial hemp on the federal level. The government defined industrial hemp as any part of the cannabis plant containing less than .3% THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.

When Italy passed their hemp production law in 2016, they set the limit at .6% THC. This created a new booming grey market industry of hemp flower in Italy.

In shops across the country, jars of hemp flower are sold as “collectibles” that are meant to be used for “technical purposes”, not to be consumed by humans (wink, wink). While the hemp flower being sold was not psychoactive due to its low THC levels, many still sought the hemp flower for its high CBD levels which provide some therapeutic effects.

In the same year that Italy legalized hemp production, the country’s parliament threw out the idea of allowing the cultivation of 5 cannabis plants for personal use. This idea was quickly shot down by Catholic lawmakers and right-wing politicians.

However just recently in September of 2021, Italy decided to move forward with a slightly adjusted version of this idea.

Is weed legal in Italy?

As of today, cannabis possession and consumption is more or less legal. This reform decriminalizes the cultivation of four cannabis plants at home. Since consumption is already decriminalized, private possession has more or less been decriminalized as a result.

However, the parliament also increased the penalties for trafficking and distribution. In other words, the sale of cannabis in Italy still remains illegal (except for hemp flower). This is why the question, is weed legal in Italy, is tough to answer.

Italians won’t be buying recreational cannabis in dispensaries any time soon, however it is likely that a strong grey market will develop with the new lax restrictions.

To use Washington D.C. as an example; the District of Columbia legalized cannabis recreationally in 2014, however a rider in the bill prohibited any district funds from being used to implement a retail industry. In other words, it was legal to grow and possess cannabis, but there was nowhere to buy or sell it recreationally.

This created a grey market in which consumers would “gift” cannabis to each other in exchange for a “donation”, skirting around the law prohibiting the sale of cannabis. If we can assume anything following the rise in popularity of hemp flower, it is that there will likely be a similar grey market that develops in Italy.

California cannabis regulators issue new, consolidated industry rules

California cannabis regulators issue new, consolidated industry rules

California department of cannabis control

The newly merged California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) on Wednesday released a 197-page draft of cannabis industry regulations, including allowing broader sales of branded merchandise and sharing product samples among those in the supply chain.

The release of the new draft regulations kicks off a new public comment period before the rules are expected to be formally adopted around the end of September. 

The DCC is a brand-new state agency in California, created in July from the original framework of three separate bureaucracies that oversaw legal marijuana businesses in the state. Combining the regulations from the three former regulators was one of the new agency’s first tasks.

The new rules are expected to be finalized and adopted around the end of the month.

Among the highlights in the changing rules:

  • New parameters for how industry trade-sample sharing can work, allowing manufacturers, growers and distributors to share product samples free of charge with others in the legal supply chain.

  • New and more narrowly tailored definitions for marijuana company owners and those who own a financial stake in a business.

  • Allowances for non-vertically integrated cannabis companies to sell branded merchandise from other licensed businesses.

Contact Greener Consulting Group for assistance with adjusting to the new agency and regulatory changes.

 

Read Full Story on MJ Biz Daily

Missouri medical cannabis industry adds over 140 dispensaries

Missouri medical cannabis industry adds over 140 dispensaries

Missouri medical cannabis dispensaries surpass 140

Missouri opened its first medical marijuana dispensary last October and now there are more than 140 across the state, with more to come.

The state’s medical cannabis industry employs roughly 5,000 people. Earlier this summer, Governor Mike Parson vetoed a bill that would have allowed Missouri medical cannabis business owners to deduct their expenses, but the head of the state program says that won’t stop the multi-million-dollar industry.

“The sales revenue is pleasantly surprising,” Lyndall Fraker, director of the section of medical marijuana with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said. “At the end of July, we surpassed $91 million in sales.”

Voters in the Show Me State passed an amendment in 2018 legalizing medical marijuana. Missouri was the 33rd state to legalize cannabis as medicine. Fraker said all medical marijuana sold in the state is grown in Missouri.

“The amendment that was voted on said that we should open the minimum number at least, which was 192 dispensaries,” Fraker said. “As of today, we have 142 open We’ve done the math and based on the number of quantities that each patient can purchase each month, how much product it would take to serve the patient base and we think we are going to be good for five or six years.”

Fraker said he believes the other 50 Missouri medical cannabis dispensaries could be open by the end of the year.

Alabama medical cannabis may not be available until 2023

Alabama medical cannabis may not be available until 2023

Alabama medical cannabis commission holds first meeting

The Alabama Medical Cannabis commission held its first official meeting on September 1, 2021, in which the board’s chairman expressed concern that the rollout of the Alabama medical cannabis program may take longer than expected.

During the first meeting of the 14-member commission, Dr. Steven Stokes tried to establish a timeline for how soon treatment with medical marijuana will be available in Alabama.

“I was hoping next spring,” Stokes said.

However Patrick Moody, the deputy commissioner for the Alabama Department of Agriculture, has said that Alabama medical cannabis growers should not expect to receive their licenses until September 2022.

Accounting for the time it would take growers to produce a harvest after receiving a license with indoor facilities, Alabama medical cannabis likely won’t be available to consumers until 2023.

The medical cannabis commission has a deadline of Sept. 1, 2022 to set up the rules to implement the program and issue licenses to cultivators, processors, transporters, testing laboratories, and dispensaries. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries will regulate the cultivators.

But without any medical cannabis to sell, dispensaries will struggle to open their days on day one. Additionally, physicians who will prescribe Alabama medical cannabis must also go through a training program, which will likely keep some physicians from participating.

In addition to the medical cannabis program being pushed back, the state’s hemp industry has been struggling as well.

The industrial hemp program in Alabama started with 600 hemp growers and is now down to only 200 farms. The majority of Alabama’s hemp is grown outdoors, which has led to a rise in plant theft.

The cannabis commission has taken note of this and will require Alabama medical cannabis to be grown indoors or in a greenhouse for greater security. The chairmen of the board has also mentioned the possibility of introducing more legislation to help speed up the process.

Massachusetts recreational cannabis now a $2 billion industry

Massachusetts recreational cannabis now a $2 billion industry

Massachusetts recreational cannabis sales top $2 billion

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission this week released numbers revealing sales of recreational marijuana has topped $2 billion dollars in the first three years of legalization.

The first Massachusetts recreational cannabis dispensaries opened for business in November 2018.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has negatively impacted other businesses, cannabis sales remains strong.

At Seed Recreational Dispensary in Jamaica Plain, which opened in March 2021, Assistant General Manager Bobby Driscoll is not surprised.

“I’m not surprised. It is definitely moving a little quicker than I think some of us in the industry had anticipated,” Driscoll said. “I think it was something we were waiting for, for a long time. A lot of people sacrificed a lot to get us to this point.”

Driscoll anticipates demand will remain strong, even as new dispensaries are approved and open for business.

New York Cannabis Control Board Appoints First Two Members

New York Cannabis Control Board Appoints First Two Members

new york cannabis control board has started assigning its first members

New York’s recreational pot program is no longer a buzzkill.

The state Senate confirmed two long overdue appointments to the agency that will regulate pot sales in the state during a special session ordered by Gov. Kathy Hochul to fast-track the program Wednesday.

Tremaine Wright was confirmed as chairperson of the Cannabis Control Board, and Christopher Alexander was secured as executive director of the new office of Cannabis Management.

Wright is a former Democratic assemblywoman who represented Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Alexander is government relations and policy manager at the Canada-based cannabis company, Vill, LLC.

Four more members still need to be named to the board by the governor and legislative leaders, which is responsible for awarding licenses to cannabis sellers in the state. The appointees do not need to be approved by lawmakers.

Hochul ordered the special session Tuesday with a thinly veiled swipe at her predecessor, disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying she wanted “to jumpstart the long-overdue decisions pertaining to establishing cannabis in the state of New York.”

Recreational cannabis was approved by Albany in the spring after being shelved by Cuomo amid the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

“These two individuals bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their new roles, and I know they will do a tremendous job of outlining and implementing regulations that are safe, fair and transparent, and that recognize the need to remedy the impact that prohibition has had on communities of color,” the Democrat said in a statement.

“I look forward to working with them on building our state’s cannabis industry and effecting real change for New Yorkers.”

State Sen. Liz Krueger, who chairs the powerful state Senate Finance Committee and sponsored the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, said Hochul’s appointees to the cannabis board cleared her committee after being questioned.

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