Tag: italy

cannabis extracts rick simpson oil concentrates

Italian Study Finds THC-Dominant Extracts Reduce Alzheimer’s-Induced Agitation

As of 2012, researchers estimated that as many as 24 million people globally were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and that the number of people diagnosed with the condition would double every 20 years for the foreseeable future.

“Alzheimer disease is the leading cause of dementia beginning with impaired memory. The neuropathological hallmarks of Alzheimer disease include diffuse and neuritic extracellular amyloid plaques in brain that are frequently surrounded by dystrophic neurites and intraneuronal neurofibrillary tangles.” stated the authors of the previously cited study from 2012.

It is still unknown what exactly causes Alzheimer’s, although medical professionals seem to think that it’s a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for the condition.

The cannabis plant may be able to help reduce Alzheimer’s-induced agitation according to a new study out of Italy. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Modena, Italy: The twice-daily use of THC-dominant plant-derived extracts is associated with symptom mitigation in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), according to observational trial data published in the Italian journal La Clinica Terapeutica.

Italian researchers assessed the safety and efficacy of cannabis extracts containing 22 percent THC and 0.5 percent CBD in 30 patients with mild to severe Alzheimer’s disease. Study participants administered the extracts twice daily for 12 weeks.

Investigators reported reductions in patients’ agitation, apathy, irritability, sleep disturbances, and eating disturbances following cannabis treatment. They further acknowledged “lower levels of physically and verbally aggressive behaviors … in all patients.” Forty-five percent of subjects experienced “a significant decrease in cognitive impairment.” None of the patients complained of any adverse side effects. All of the patients exhibited increased quality of life and a “decrease in caregiver burden and costs of medical care and assistance.”

Authors concluded, “The results of our clinical trial suppose the effectiveness and in particular the safety of [a natural] CBD/THC preparation in two main symptoms of AD, agitation and weight loss.”

Prior trials have demonstrated the ability of both natural cannabis extracts and synthetic cannabinoids to mitigate various symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Preclinical data has shown that both THC and synthetic THC agonists can modulate neuroinflammation and the formation of amyloid plaque in the brain – both of which are believed to play a key role in the development of AD.

Full text of the study, “Oral THC | CBD cannabis extract in main symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease: Agitation and weight loss,” appears in La Clinica Terapeutica. Additional information on cannabinoids and Alzheimer’s disease is available from NORML’s publicationClinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids.


horse equine equestrian horses

International Researchers Cure Horse’s Behavioral Disorders Using 4-Weeks Of CBD Treatment

A team of international researchers from Italy and Brazil published findings earlier this month in the science publication Veterinary and Animal Science in which they reported a “successful outcome of four weeks-therapy with CBD” in a clinical case involving a 22-year-old Quarter horse that was experiencing behavioral disorders.

The clinical case study was a collaboration between investigators from the Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences at the University of Bologna in Italy and the Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences at the University Metodista of São Paulo in Brazil.

At the heart of the study was a 22-year-old mare subject that was reportedly suffering from “chronic crib-biting and wind-sucking,” which are common behavioral disorders in horses for various reasons, including but not limited to poor welfare. According to the researchers, “Any alteration from the conditions found in nature can lead to the occurrence of some specific behaviours, called stereotypies which are characterised as repetitive, consistent patterns of behaviour usually defined as having no apparent ultimate or proximal functions.”

“According to the owner report, the mare had presented this behaviour for the past 15 years; previous clinical approaches, such as a cervical collar, environmental enhancement, diet change, and chemical tranquilizers (acepromazine 0,1 mg/kg T.I.D) were not successful.” the researchers stated in their findings.

“At anamnesis, it was revealed that the mare used to be a sport horse with an intensive training routine. Once her sports career was over, the owners retired her and kept her partially in the paddock and partially in the box (average 3 h/day at the paddock). The sport career was over at the age of 10 years old, while the behaviour disorder started at the age of 7 years old, getting progressively worse over the years.” the researchers stated about the horse that was the focus of the study.

“The horse was placed in therapy with commercially available isolated CBD 200 mg/ml at a dose of 0.5 mg/kg/daily q12h per os. The dose and frequency were determinate based on previous case report and veterinary pharmacological studies (Ellis and Contino 2021). During the therapy, there were no changes in food quality/quantity or the daily routine of the mare.” the researchers stated about the CBD treatment specifically.

“To assess the results of the therapy, the mare was followed up under constant observation, for 7 days before the therapy and then during the treatment by the veterinary team divided into shifts, which provided the number of hours spent with the stereotypy (Fig. 2a) pre- and during administration of CBD. The mare was also weighted weekly, with the first weight measured at the start of the 7 days observation period prior to therapy.” the researchers stated about assessing the subject’s treatment.

“The results after 30 days of therapy were positive and no regression in behaviour was seen by the owners after the treatment ended. To the best of the Authors’ knowledge, this is the first published case describing the successful treatment and management of a chronic crib-biting, wind-sucking horse with the oral administration of CBD, enhancing welfare and life quality.” the researchers concluded.

This may be the first study of its kind, however, it’s not the first animal science study in general. This latest study adds to a growing body of evidence which proves that just as cannabis can provide wellness benefits to humans, so too can it do the same for animals. Medical cannabis as it pertains to veterinary medicine is an emerging sector of the medical cannabis industry, and a particularly promising one at that.

According to Grand View Research the global veterinary medicine industry was worth an estimated $44.59 billion in 2022 alone.

brazil, italy

milan italy

Italy Would Obviously Benefit From Cannabis Legalization

A bit of a metaphorical political food fight occurred last week on social media with two lawmakers in Italy having, shall we say, a ‘debate’ about the merits of cannabis legalization and prohibition. According to local media coverage, the back and forth between Elly Schlein and Matteo Salvini began with Salvini posting an image of Schlein with a sticker on her forehead, and the caption (translated to English), “More taxes and more joints, the priorities of the Pd to help Italians. Do we laugh or cry?”

Elly Schlein, a candidate for the secretariat of the Democratic Party, previously expressed support for legalization. Matteo Salvini, who currently serves as Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and appears to be a devout prohibitionist, clearly took issue with that expressed support and used it to take a passive aggressive jab at Schlein. Schlein then stated (translated to English), “In the meantime, we are concerned not to make the mafias laugh. The legalization of cannabis takes away ground from organized crime, while raising the ceiling on cash and dismantling the procurement code makes it easier. They are choices. #BetterLegal”

Putting the pros and cons of each individual as a lawmaker aside, the communications about each other’s position on cannabis policy highlights the ongoing need to reform Italy’s cannabis laws. Just as cannabis prohibition does not work anywhere else on earth, so too is it an abject failure in Italy. Lawmakers in Italy would be wise to join a growing chorus of lawmakers in other countries that are calling for legalization in order to boost public health outcomes.

Prohibition Is Bad For Public Health

Over the weekend I reported on a recommendation by France’s Economic, Social and Environmental Council which called for France to pass an adult-use legalization measure, with part of the recommended measure involving the launch of regulated adult-use cannabis sales. To paraphrase the stated the position of the Council, essentially, cannabis prohibition is more harmful to public health than cannabis legalization would be.

The Council has a point. France has one of the greatest cannabis consumption rates on the planet, with data from 2020 indicating that 46% of adults in France have tried cannabis at least once, and 11% consuming cannabis annually. Nearly all of that cannabis comes from the unregulated market being that France only permits very limited use of medical cannabis, although it is worth mentioning that France did recently lift a ban on CBD products and it’s quite possible that some survey respondents were referring to that type of cannabis, often referred to as ‘cannabis light.’ Regardless, consumers would clearly benefit from products being tested prior to being sold which would occur in a regulated industry.

France is not alone in weighing the public health impacts of prohibition versus legalization. Germany is currently pursuing a similar approach, and in a more meaningful way compared to France. Whereas the Council recommendation in France is not legally binding and is merely just a suggestion, lawmakers in Germany are actively pursuing a legalization model that is geared towards boosting public health outcomes via a regulated system. Leaders in the Czech Republic have also indicated a desire to pursue a similar approach, and leaders in Italy should join them.

An Evidence-Based Approach

At best, when cannabis opponents are challenged they will offer up statistics and studies that, when put into proper context, highlight how little proof there actually is that cannabis prohibition works. Those talking points are big on scare tactics, but little on actual applicability. Cannabis prohibition does not lower consumption rates, nor does it prevent youth access. All it does is ensure that products are less safe compared to products in a regulated system, it helps organized crime profit from unregulated sales, and it diverts limited public resources away from effective public health strategies towards forcing people into the criminal justice system.

One thing that is often lost in the discussion about cannabis policy is the opportunity cost of prohibition. Enforcing failed cannabis prohibition is not free, and, in fact, is very expensive. According to Statista, the average daily cost of incarcerating someone (including for cannabis) is roughly 143 euros, which is up from 2019 when the estimated cost was 131 euros a day. That, of course, does not include the cost of the officers patrolling, the cost of the investigation, the cost of any forensic lab work, and the cost of the court proceedings. Now, multiply all of that times the number of people arrested and prosecuted for cannabis offenses in Italy and the numbers quickly add up. Obviously, not every case involves every component that I mentioned, however, at the macro level it’s still a tremendous sum when all combined together.

Meanwhile, none of those dollars go towards actual public health strategies, such as education. Regulated sales coupled with funding ongoing education campaigns helps mitigate youth consumption rates better than threating youth with possible criminal justice ramifications, as proven by the statistics in some legal jurisdictions like the State of Oregon where I live. The funds saved by no longer enforcing failed prohibition, coupled with the revenues generated by a taxed and regulated industry, can provide governments with funding levels for public health strategies that they currently can only dream about. That would obviously include Italy, but only when lawmakers like Matteo Salvini refrain from making prohibitionist quips, and instead focus their energy on pursuing a sensible approach towards cannabis public policy.


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Autism Case Study Finds Terpene-Enriched CBD To Be More Effective Than CBD Alone

One thing that I often point out to people is that the cannabis plant is one of the most dynamic plants on earth, and that in many ways humans are just beginning to scrape the surface of understanding and harnessing its full potential.

The cannabis plant, and wellness products derived from it, can be used to successfully treat a number of health conditions according to an ever-increasing list of peer-reviewed studies, as well as a growing body of patient testimonials.

Research dedicated to specific cannabinoids is becoming more common, thankfully, with research focused on cannabidiol (CBD) being particularly popular these days. One area of CBD-based research that is showing a lot of promise is CBD treatments for autism patients.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. Tens of millions of people around the world suffer from ASD, including an estimated 1% of all children worldwide.

Cannabis-based treatments are a fairly new thing when it comes to younger ASD patients largely due to prohibition-induced stigma, however, international researchers are exploring CBD and autism more and more thanks to reform victories in various jurisdictions.

A recent example can be found in Italy where a case study was conducted by researchers in Italy and Israel involving a young ASD patient. The patient was first diagnosed in 2008, and after exploring various conventional treatment regimens the patient eventually started to use CBD.

“On August 2018, after contacting a medical cannabis prescribing physician and consulting a specialized laboratory (THC Lab), G was first prescribed a CBD-rich cannabis extract containing 2.5% CBD. This was later exchanged with pure synthetic CBD oil at the same concentration. CBD oil was first administrated at a daily dose of 15 drops (12 mg CBD), corresponding to 0.34 mg CBD/kg bw (body weight) per day. CBD accompanied the Neuleptil treatment. This was found beneficial, completely eliminating aggression and leaving G happy and calm.” researchers stated in an article published by Frontiers in Pharmacology.

“CBD treatment was efficient for 3 years, until G turned 16 years old. From April 2021, with puberty, G became highly agitated. In order to control his symptoms, the dose of pure CBD was raised, reaching 27 drops (21.6 mg CBD), corresponding to 0.48 mg CBD/kg bw per day. However, the increased dose did not result in improved efficacy. Aggression had increased, reaching more than two major aggressive events per week. Aggressive events were severe (scored eight to nine on a 0–10 subjective aggressive scale, by G’s parents).” researchers stated.

“G’s regular CBD oil (pure synthetic CBD at a concentration of 2.5%) was enriched with one of two proprietary terpene blends, composed of terpenes demonstrated in pre-clinical and clinical trials to produce anxiolytic and calming effects. These included alpha pinene, limonene, linalool, beta caryophyllene and nerolidol. One of these two terpene blends was provided for daily use, and the other – for night use, or for times when G was highly agitated.” researchers also stated.

“Since August 2021, G has completed 9 months of treatment with terpene-enriched CBD oil. As can be seen in Table 1 and in Figure 2, aggression was significantly reduced, from two major aggressive events per week during treatment with synthetic CBD oil, to a complete elimination of aggressive events during treatment with the same synthetic CBD oil enriched with the selected terpene blends.” researchers observed.

“This case demonstrates the benefit of terpene-enriched CBD oil for treating aggression associated with ASD in an agitated adolescent. Enrichment of CBD with selected terpenes increased CBD potency, providing a therapeutic response wherein CBD alone had insufficient effect.” researchers concluded.

autism, israel, italy

skin lotion

Clinical Trial Finds CBD More Effective Than Conventional Treatments At Treating Skin Ulcers

According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. In fact, more than 1.5 million people were diagnosed with some form of skin cancer in the year 2020 alone.

It’s a serious health condition that is expected to only increase in prevalence going forward, with cases of skin cancer expected to increase as much as 50% around the world between now and 2040. Depending on the type of skin cancer a person has, and how severe it is, many cases of skin cancer are treatable.

Other skin conditions may be rarer compared to skin cancer and do not receive as much attention, however, they can still be very serious. One such skin condition is scleroderma, which involves inflammation of the skin. Some patients develop skin ulcers as a result of scleroderma.

Researchers in Italy recently examined CBD topical’s ability to treat skin ulcers, and they found that CBD topicals were more effective compared to conventional treatments. Below is more information about it via a NORML news release:

Modena, Italy: The administration of a topical extract preparation of CBD effectively mitigates wound-related pain and promotes the healing of skin ulcers in patients with scleroderma, according to randomized trial data published in the journal Advances in Skin & Wound CareScleroderma (a/k/a systemic sclerosis) is a rare autoimmune disorder involving the tightening of the skin and the narrowing of blood vessels.

Italian investigators assessed the efficacy of topical CBD oil compared to conventional medications in a group of scleroderma patients with digital ulcers (skin ulcers of the fingertips). Twenty-five patients were randomly selected to use CBD for one month; the other 20 received conventional therapy.

Subjects in the CBD group experienced greater pain relief and wound healing than did those in the control group. Authors reported, “Although mean wound-related pain NRS [numeric rating scale] scores did not differ between CBD-treated patients and control patients at baseline, their mean scores differed significantly after 1 month.” Specifically, patients in the treatment group experienced a decrease in pain of 29 percent over the course of the trial, whereas those in the control group only experienced a six percent decrease.

Investigators further acknowledged, “In terms of DU [digital ulcer] healing, 18 of the 25 patients in the CBD-treated group (72 percent) experienced complete healing by the end of the study. In contrast, complete healing was observed in (only) 6 of the 20 control group participants (30 percent).”

Patients receiving CBD treatment reported “no significant adverse effects” during the study.

“The present study is the first to report the effectiveness of local CBD treatment in the management of SSc-DUs [systemic sclerosis digital ulcers],” authors concluded.  “Topical administration of CBD is a safe, effective, noninvasive tool that is associated with improved wound-related pain, DU healing, and QoL [quality of life] of patients with SSc.”

The topical application of cannabinoids, and of CBD in particular, has demonstrated benefits in the treatment of a variety of skin-related conditions, including psoriasiserythemapruritis, and acne. It has also been associated with wound healing in patients with refractory leg ulcers and with the rare skin blistering disease epidermolysis bullosa.

Full text of the study, “Topical cannabidiol in the treatment of digital ulcers in patients with scleroderma: Comparative analysis and literature review,” appears in Advances in Skin & Wound Care.



florence italy

Italian Army Seeks To Supply Country’s Entire Medical Cannabis Program

Back in April 2015, Italy’s Army did something that shocked many people around the world – it unveiled to the international community a cannabis farm that it operated. The unveiling came months after a government announcement that the project would begin operations, although seeing so many plants in full bloom received considerably more attention than the government’s initial announcement back then.

The concept of a government cultivating cannabis is not new. After all, for over 50 years a federal cannabis research cultivation project has operated at the University of Mississippi in the United States, and some of the cannabis from the research program is supplied to a very limited number of medical cannabis patients. However, Italy’s medical cannabis effort involving the military is much different in size and scope.

When Italy’s Army held it’s unveiling in 2015, the stated goal of the cultivation project was to cultivate enough medical cannabis to supply thousands of patients, to keep the cannabis secure throughout the cannabis’ lifecycle, and to lower medical cannabis prices for approved patients. Zoom forward to today, and the cultivation project operated by Italy’s Army will likely end up supplying nearly half of the nation’s medical cannabis program in 2023, with the remaining medical cannabis supply coming from imports. Leadership in Italy’s Army recently expressed publicly a new goal of eventually supplanting exports entirely with domestically produced medical cannabis.

Increasing Cultivation Output

Currently, Italy’s medical cannabis policy requires that 1,500 kilograms of cannabis be cultivated, harvested, and provided to registered medical cannabis patients in a year. The Italian Army’s goal for 2023 is to cultivate enough cannabis to fulfill 700 of those required kilograms. To put that figure into perspective, the Army’s cultivation operation, which is located just outside of Florence, yielded 50 kilograms in 2020 and 300 kilograms in 2022.

“The next step is self-sufficiency — that’s our ambition,” said Nicola Latorre according to Defense News. Latorre leads the Italian Defence Industries Agency in charge of the cultivation project. All of the domestically produced cannabis that is part of the Army-operated program is cultivated indoors. Apparently the program started by utilizing two rooms, which has since expanded to ten. Presumably, the additional space required to increase production has already been identified and will be located at the same secure facility.

Part of the reported strategy to boost production also involves improved cultivation technology and techniques, including “perfecting lighting, watering, temperature and ventilation” as well as the use of a “blend of secret nutrients developed in-house.” The cannabis is cultivated hydroponically, and in addition to pursuing the goal of boosting overall production, Italy’s cultivation program will start providing patients with cannabis-infused olive oil at some point in 2023.

Expanding Safe Access To All Suffering Patients

It is great news, in general, that domestic medical cannabis production is increasing in Italy. With that being said, developing a nation’s medical cannabis supply in a way that gives the entire monopoly to the government and cultivating all cannabis under artificial lighting is far from optimal. In order for a medical cannabis program to reach its full potential, it needs to help as many suffering patients as possible, and that requires, among other things, a comprehensive approach to sourcing cannabis and providing safe access.

A landmark decision was rendered by Italy’s Supreme Court in late 2019 that provided some level of legal protections for limited home cultivation. The decision was significant to be sure, however, patients still run the risk of selective enforcement and specified cultivation rights need to be codified into Italian law for all suffering patients. Furthermore, the list of qualifying conditions for Italy’s medical cannabis program needs to be expanded considerably.

In addition to sensible medical cannabis policies that pertain to individuals, Italy needs to expand who can cultivate cannabis on a large scale. The Army can and should continue to cultivate cannabis if it wants to, if for any reason to boost competition and keep prices low, however, domestic private sector and charitable organizations also need to be allowed to operate in a similar fashion to help ensure that Italy’s medical cannabis industry truly becomes self-sustaining for the long haul, and that as many suffering patients get helped as possible in the process.


blood pressure hypertension heart health

Italian Researchers Examine Cannabis Spray And Stroke Survivors

According to the World Stroke Organization it is estimated that over 12 million people experience a stroke in any given year, and that as many as one out of every four people over 25 years old will have a stroke at some point during their life.

A stroke is defined by the Mayo Clinic as occurring when, “the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients.” Brain cells can begin to die very quickly when deprived of oxygen and nutrients.

Life after experiencing a stroke can be difficult for those that live through it, with many stroke survivors experiencing some level of paralysis due to the stroke. Post-stroke treatments can involve physical therapy and various medications.

A treatment that is growing in popularity is cannabis, and according to a recent study in Italy, at least one form of cannabis treatment appears to be safe for stroke survivors based on researchers’ findings. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Genova, Italy: The daily consumption of a proprietary oromucosal spray containing equal ratios of plant-derived THC and CBD (nabiximols aka Sativex) is not associated with cardiovascular complications in stroke survivors, according to clinical data published in the journal Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine.

A team of Italian researchers assessed the safety of nabiximols in a cohort of 34 spasticity patients that had previously suffered from strokes.

Investigators reported: “No cardiovascular treatment-emergent adverse drug effects emerged during nabiximols treatment, namely no significant fluctuation of blood pressure and heart rate, nor ischemic or hemorrhagic events occurred. During nabiximols treatment, self-assessed blood pressure and heart rate did not change compared to the baseline condition. No patients showed significant acceleration or decrease in heart rate or change in rhythm and none required an additional ECG or cardiological evaluation during the study.”

They concluded, “These data support the cardiovascular safety of nabiximols.”

Analyses of nationally representative samples of recreational marijuana consumers have reported inconsistent results regarding the relationship between cannabis and adverse cardiovascular events. A 2021 study of 57,000 US adults concluded, “After controlling for several confounding variables, we found that there was a decrease in the prevalence of cardiovascular events with marijuana use (Odds Ratio: 0.74).” By contrast, a 2020 review of nearly 134,000 US adults reported, “Frequent marijuana smoking is associated with significantly higher odds of stroke and myocardial infarction or coronary artery disease, with a possible role in premature cardiovascular disease.”

More recently, the results of a literature review of 67 studies published in The American Journal of Medicine concluded, “[M]arijuana itself does not appear to be independently associated with excessive cardiovascular risk factors.” Authors did caution, however, that “it can be associated with other unhealthy behaviors such as alcohol use and tobacco smoking that can be detrimental” to cardiovascular health.

Similarly, a separate review published last year of 46 randomized clinical trials involving 2,800 patients concluded that consumption of either purified or synthetic cannabinoids, including THC, is not associated with any increased risk of serious cardiovascular events.

Full text of the study, “Nabiximols effect on blood pressure and heart rate in post-stroke patients of a randomized controlled study,” appears in the journal Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine.


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Home Grow In Italy: Just Around The Corner?

The country is poised to follow a trend seen in multiple European countries – namely introducing recreational reform with a limited home grow option

Italy may join the European club of countries allowing home grow by the end of the year. A bill to allow home cultivation of up to four plants finally reached the Chamber of Deputies (the Italian version of the American House of Representatives) in late June.

If passed, the bill would allow not only home grow but would also allow judges to impose reduced sentences for those who still are considered in violation of the new law. It would also require judges to impose penalties on a case-by-case basis.

The point of the legislation is to reduce the amount of money flowing directly into the coffers of organized crime and rectify shortages in the country’s medical cannabis infrastructure, provision, and distribution system.

The bill is expected to be voted on in the coming weeks before being considered by the Italian Senate in early fall.

The Status of Cannabis Reform in Italy

Italy has largely followed other countries, namely Germany, into the cannabis legalization debate. The country began medical cultivation in earnest after Germany passed its own medical legalization bill in 2017 – with the oversight of the same performed by the military.

Beyond this, CBD or cannabis lite as it is referred to across Europe, has become extremely popular in the country. In addition, case law on home grow has gotten increasingly compelling. Despite the failure of a petition to legalize recreational cannabis at the Italian Supreme Court late last year, it is clear that the issue is moving forward anyway at the legislative level – probably also speeded along by continuing reform including on the home grow front in other European countries.

Home Grow – The European First Step Towards Full Legalization

Over the past few months, the idea of implementing home grow as a first step towards greater recreational reform has gone from anathema to popular on-ramp to full normalization.

Malta started the trend late last year. Luxembourg, whose government promised full recreational reform by 2024, subsequently followed suit this spring with a similar idea. Portugal is well on the way to doing the same. Germany, in all likelihood, will also implement some kind of home grow in the legalization discussion. This is because there is a similar problem with medical cannabis provision and compensation in Italy. Not enough patients are getting their prescriptions approved, forcing them into the black market – or home cultivation.


milan italy

Why Is It Taking So Long To Legalize Cannabis Cultivation In Italy?

Formal talks to explore legalizing cannabis home cultivation nationwide in Italy are officially underway. Per Corriere delle Alpi as of last week (auto-translated to English), “The general discussion on the cultivation, sale and consumption of cannabis and its derivatives begins in the Chamber.”

Before cannabis enthusiasts and advocates around the world get too excited, it’s probably worth noting that what will unfold in Italy will likely be a long process, which if that does indeed prove to be the case, will be unfortunate. Cannabis prohibition policies as they pertain to home cultivation and any other facet of cannabis consumption, possession, and distribution are failed public policies. That is true both within Italy and everywhere else that prohibition exists.

With that in mind, lawmakers in Italy need to get on the right side of history and end prohibition. That’s an opinion that is not only shared by cannabis enthusiasts inside and outside of Italy, but also within judicial circles in Italy, including at the highest level (no pun intended).

Landmark Supreme Court Decision

In 2019 Italy’s Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in which it struck down cannabis prohibition as it pertained to personal cannabis cultivation. The Court’s decision was fairly brief, being only one page in length, and containing the words, “at home, small-scale cultivation activities are to be considered excluded from the application of the penal code.”

At the time, the decision was hailed across the globe, and rightfully so. However, since the decision was rendered lawmakers have failed to pass a measure to codify the Court’s decision, as the decision left many unanswered questions, not the least of which is ‘what constitutes small-scale cultivation?’

The specific case that Italy’s Supreme Court reviewed and rendered a decision on back in 2019 involved an individual cultivating 2 plants. Does that mean that there should be a two-plant limit in Italy? More plants? Does the space in which the cannabis is being cultivated matter? Can the plants be cultivated in public view, such as on a balcony or in a backyard surrounded by balconies on neighboring properties? The Court’s decision was favorable, however, it’s up to lawmakers to firm it up and fill in the blanks.

Recent Referendum Sends A Clear Message

In 2021 activists in Italy made the most of a new provision for gathering signatures for referendums, gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures electronically in mere weeks in order to put cannabis legalization before the nation’s voters. The speed at which the signature-gathering effort reached its 600k+ goal was inspiring and spoke volumes about how much voters in Italy want to see an end to cannabis prohibition.

Unfortunately, despite gathering the necessary signatures, the referendum effort was blocked essentially at the last step of the process by Italy’s Supreme Court, which deemed the referendum measure to be unconstitutional. Once again, Italy’s Supreme Court put the issue squarely on national lawmakers.

How long the process will take to end cannabis prohibition in Italy, both for home cultivation and beyond, is anyone’s guess at this point. Activists have tried for a long time to get Italy on the right side of history and it has been slow going (not for a lack of effort!). With that being said, the domestic process to legalize home cultivation in Italy is not happening in a vacuum.

While Italian lawmakers continue to drag their feet several other countries in Europe and around the world are working towards not only legalizing home cultivation but also creating legal adult-use industries. As momentum continues to build outside of Italy, especially on the European continent, it will continue to add to the pressure directed at Italian lawmakers within Italy’s borders.


italy flag

Italian Ministry Of Défense Publishes Pre-Bid Call For New Cannabis Cultivation Companies

The Ministry is trying to identify qualified cultivators to cultivate in Florence

The Ministry of Defense has just published an “expression of interest” to identify companies that are able and qualified to grow medical cannabis plants. The call was designed to increase production for domestic use with the aim of achieving self-sufficiency from a medical perspective.

A technical department has been set up to begin this definitive start to call for new tenders for medical cultivation. The direct link can be found here.

Qualifications are broken into four sections – with the first qualification being GMP certification.

  • Qualitative selection of candidates
  • Technical inspection
  • Confirmation of expression of interest
  • Invitations to apply (which is restricted)

Both existing farms and freelancers registered with the Chamber of Commerce, or the competent professional associations will be considered, providing that they have the right experience as well as an in-depth understanding of the current legislation. A valid insurance policy of at least 10 million euros will also be required.

The due date is June 27.

The Domestic Security Argument

The Italian decision to increase the domestic production of cannabis (by highly limited tender bid) certainly comes at an interesting time, particularly given pending recreational reform just across the border with Germany. While ostensibly just for domestic consumption, it is unclear if Italy wants to also position itself as a major exporter as other markets come online – particularly those like Luxembourg where for now, the only cannabis cultivation that is going to be allowed in the short term is home grow.

Beyond this, the moves seem to be the first in Europe where authorities consider cannabis so valuable that they are specifically setting up cultivation to meet so far unmet domestic supply – and further as a self-identity national security issue.

Just across the border in Germany, the three cultivators who won the first bid were deliberately instructed to grow far less than would be obviously needed. This is why the ex-im market aus Deutschland is so dynamic, not to mention important.

That said, this may mark a turning point for the discussion, not just in Italy, but across Europe. Supply chain security for both food and medicine has become a much hotter topic post Pandemic, with convoluted supply chains and a re-examination of national policies in shoring up as much domestic production as possible.

It is also, of course, a tacit admission of the huge job creation potential of the sector.

The Italians, in other words, are not just releasing a domestic agricultural tender. They might well be on the edge of a coming, new, and much overdue green flood that seems poised to take over Europe.


hemp plant field

Sardinia Begins Regulated Hemp Production To Remediate Polluted Land

Italy’s second-largest island has passed a measure to create a regulated hemp market to help clean up the environment

A new law designed to increase phytoremediation of polluted land may well put hemp production on steroids on Italy’s second-largest island – Sardinia. The measure, which passed by unanimous vote on the island, regulates the entire supply chain – from farm to processing.

About 600 hectares (1,500 acres) of hemp were planted in 2019 – the last year such data is available. However, there has been a concerted push to cultivate more hemp – either from first-time farmers or those who want to convert existing agricultural operations to farm the same which has driven the measure politically.

The island’s governing council said that the old unclear laws and regulations were stifling this sector of the economy on the island.

Controlling Production Seed to Sale

What is interesting about this development is that the new law differs from Italy’s national law on hemp production because it imposes an obligation to report cultivation. This is intended to create a way of controlling and tracking what is produced here. The island will maintain a database to monitor cultivation and the intended use of such crops which will also be shared with the police.

The Great Italian Cannabis Question

Italy has subsided from the cannabis reform limelight somewhat over the past several years. Undoubtedly this is partially thanks to Covid. However, it is not the only reason. Indeed, at the beginning of just this year, the highest court in the country squashed a petition effort to hold a referendum on the legalization of recreational use.

However, Italy is far from out of the game. Medical cannabis is produced in the country and there is limited medical reform. Beyond that, hemp and CBD products continue to be popular here. Italy is also head of most European countries in that, like Malta, albeit via court case rather than legislation, patients can grow their own if they cannot access it elsewhere.

How the country will proceed post-pandemic is an open question. It is clear that reform here has not gone underground. It will just take a concerted political push to get the country’s national politicians to move forward on a recreational discussion.

In the meantime, regions like Sardinia are proceeding as best they can. Hemp production for environmental remediation is an increasingly popular, non-controversial way to proceed, although this project seems to be the first in Europe to specifically focus on the environmental benefits of growing hemp.

It won’t be the last.


milan italy

Milan’s City Council Calls For Cannabis Legalization In Italy

Italy is home to one of the most inspiring cannabis activism efforts of all time. Last year activists in Italy gathered enough signatures to put national legalization before voters. Over 630,000 signatures were gathered in just a matter of weeks.

The signatures were gathered so quickly and abundantly due to a change in the referendum process in Italy in which signatures can now be gathered digitally. Being that the signatures were gathered digitally, I was personally worried at the time that not enough of them would be deemed valid during the validation process.

I have worked on signature-gathering campaigns for cannabis reform efforts in the past, and the validation rate can vary widely, with signatures gathered digitally being particularly ripe for a large invalidation rate. The effort in Italy required 500,000 valid signatures, and eventually, it was determined that there were indeed enough valid signatures in the overall signature count.

Unfortunately, the referendum effort later hit a dead end when Italy’s Constitutional Court prevented the measure from moving forward based on a technicality. Polling seemed to indicate that the measure would have passed overwhelmingly, which combined with how fast the valid signatures piled up, clearly demonstrates that support for legalization in Italy is significant.

The referendum effort may have never reached voters, however, it has increased the pressure on lawmakers in Italy to step up and pass a legalization measure. Now Milan’s City Council is calling for national legalization, which will only further build on that pressure. Per La Repubblica(translated to English):

The City Council of Milan is asking to legalize the use of cannabis and is calling on the government to approve a law that goes in this direction. The hall of Palazzo Marino has in fact approved the agenda promoted by the leader of the Democratic Party, Filippo Barberis, shared by most of the majority and also voted by the leader of Forza Italia, Alessandro De Chirico.

In the document, the classroom asks the mayor and the council “to take action with the Parliament and in all appropriate fora to support the need to approve a bill on the legalization of the production and consumption of cannabis and its derivatives” and to “reinvest the revenues deriving from the legalization of cannabis in training, prevention and harm reduction policies “, as happens in countries where this substance is already legalized. According to the agenda, the legalization of cannabis “would bring various economic and social benefits, such as a very important damage to the mafia economy, an increase in GDP and a consequent increase in revenues for public finances,”

In addition to the referendum effort in Italy, the nation’s Supreme Court ruled back in 2019 that personal cannabis cultivation was legal. The landmark decision created many questions, not the least of which is ‘what constitutes a personal amount of cannabis,’ yet it also largely tasked Italy’s lawmakers with answering those questions via legalization legislation.

All the while, cannabis legalization is on the move across Europe. Malta legalized cannabis for adult use late last year, and several European countries are ramping up legalization pilot programs. Germany, which is the biggest domino on the continent, is trending towards legalization. All of this puts pressure on Italy to legalize, which will hopefully happen sooner rather than later.


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