Drumroll to announce the big news… legal cannabis is finally legal in Italy starting from January 1st 2020! The so called cannabis light was legal also before this latest amendment to the Italian law, but the constant pressure put on the rising cannabis light market from the right parties created a lot of confusion last year in 2019, to the point that the united sections of the Italian Court of Cassation had to deliberate on it at the beginning of the summer of 2019.
Last year the Court of Cassation confirmed the legal status of cannabis light, referring to cannabis which contains a very low percentage of THC, the psychotropic substance that produces the so-called recreational effect of cannabis. According to the law and consequent decision by the united session of Cassation Court, cannabis containing less than 0,5% of THC (the so called “doping principle”) is legal. Unfortunately the Cassation Court didn’t add further details, so it was not clear if, besides being legal the sale of light marihuana, it was legal also the consumption of it by individuals.
The text that was included in the Budget Law 2020 reads: “the use of hemp composed of the entire hemp plant or parts of it as biomass is allowed in dried, fresh, chopped or pelletized form for industrial, commercial and energy. “
Thanks to the amendment by Senators Mantero and Mollame, taxation on legal cannabis will also be regulated, which will in fact be subjected to “manufacturing tax”, and for the sale price of the product the “percentage rates equal to € 12 will apply per thousand kilograms, for each percentage point of cannabidiol (CBD) present in biomass “.
“It is not the point of arrival, this is only a starting point, but today we have given the first shake to the absurd wall of prejudice which still surrounds this plant” wrote the senator Matteo Mantero on his official Facebook page, adding that “the Italian producers of cannabis as well as the shop keepers will finally be able to work in a more serene way. “
Indeed, the deliberation introduced by the recent amendment to the Italian Senate Budget Law for 2020 is a small but decisive step for a country that had plunged into total chaos on the regulation of cannabis light, especially following the positions taken by the former interior minister Matteo Salvini.
Today in Italy there are over a thousand shops that sell cannabis light, thanks to a legislative hole that in fact neither prohibited nor allowed this activity. Law 242 of 2016 regulates the sale of hemp for food, textile and so on, with a tolerance margin for the THC principle, the psychotropic one, which goes up to 0.6%. There is no mention of inflorescences for personal consumption and from there it has been started to sell them also for this purpose, remaining below that threshold. Hectares of land have been cultivated with hemp, thousands of people have found work by entering the supply chain – from farmers, to processors, to retailers. And as evidenced by a recent study, the opening of cannabis light shops in Italy would have caused a drop in the shop of 14 percent and the turnover of the mafias would have fallen by over 100 million euros.
But the politicians Salvini and Meloni have always denounced the sale of this “state drug”, trying to sink the sector to the sound of proposed laws and rallies in the squares across Italy. But there is a basic error in their crusades: as also established by the Cassation Court, a substance with THC equal or minor than 0.5% has no doping power and is therefore legal and lawful. “The drug sold by Parliament to our children” as denounced by Salvini is actually a substance that is doping only in name, but which in fact has the power of an herbal tea.
Not only consumers but also and mostly the producers and traders who found themselves in trouble with the law overnight following the initiatives that Matteo Salvini had taken as owner of the Interior Ministry, in the grip of a senseless prohibitionist drive, whose only possible explanation can be found only in the desperate search for consensus within a poorly informed electorate on the matter.
The prohibitionist campaign by Italian right parties impacted the young and rising legal cannabis market in Italy – many producers and distributors closed their businesses, and important cannabis trade shows such as Canapa In Mostra (Naples) and 420 Hemp Fest either have been canceled, such in the case of the Naples cannabis fair, or have been postponed to the end of the year, waiting for a better legal framework to happen.
In the meantime, on December 26, a ruling by the Court of Cassation was announced which provides, albeit with many stakes, that it will no longer be a crime to grow cannabis at home if in minimal quantities and only for personal use – and this time we are talking about the cultivation of TCH-rich cannabis plants. According to the judges, who made the decision on 19 December, “small-scale cultivation activities carried out in the domestic form do not constitute a crime”. If, they recommend, “the small number of plants and the small quantity of obtainable product appear to be destined exclusively for personal use”.
According to the data, the introduction of the hemp biomass tax will bring revenues of over 500 million euros per year to the state as early as 2020, a figure destined to grow with the increase in the sector. On the other hand, the legal marijuana market, which has experienced unstable and uncertain times, due to the lack of clarity of the regulations, will benefit. Growers and traders, as well as consumers, who have focused or want to invest in this sector, will be able to stay a little more relaxed, with the certainty that this legislation is only the beginning of a path aimed at bringing ever greater clarity, protection and regulation of the light hemp market in Italy.
This is great news for Harvin and for all our current and potential clients, as now there will be no more fears or doubts in adopting and including in shops all over Italy our automatic cannabis vending machines. Contact Harvin today to discover how the Harvin product line of legal weed distributors can boost your shop sales and help you expand your business horizons. Also follow our blog and our official social media pages on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, to stay updated on the latest news on Harvin and our best selling automatic legal cannabis vending machines!