By / July 9, 2024

Italian Government to Reclassify CBD as a Narcotic Substance

The Italian government, under the leadership of far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, is moving forward with a controversial new decree aimed at reclassifying CBD (cannabidiol) as a narcotic, contrary to global and European decisions on CBD regulation.

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New Government Decree on CBD Oil

The Italian government filed a new decree yesterday to classify orally consumed CBD as a narcotic. This decree could become law 30 days after its publication in the Official Journal. However, it can be appealed by the Tar, the Italian administrative court. The decree follows the framework established by the previous Speranza decree, which was overturned by the Tar in 2023, but introduces new opinions from the Higher Institute of Health and the Higher Health Council, suggesting that these institutions now have sufficient scientific evidence to support this classification.

Giacomo Bulleri, a lawyer specializing in this field, spoke on LinkedIn and to about the implications of the decree. He describes the situation as “surreal,” especially since a judgment from the Tar on the matter is still pending. Mr. Bulleri believes that the Italian government could have presented its evidence in the ongoing judicial proceedings rather than imposing a new decree. He emphasizes that this decision appears to reflect Italy’s determination to classify CBD as a narcotic, despite the European Court of Justice’s clarification that it should not be considered as such.

Mr. Bulleri also notes that the new decree includes recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) dating back to 2020. The WHO had advised all member countries not to classify CBD-based products, particularly those with a THC content not exceeding 0.2%, as narcotics. This inclusion raises questions about the scientific necessity and proportionality of the Italian government’s decision.

Impact on the Italian CBD Market

The Italian government’s decree specifically targets oral compositions of CBD extracted from cannabis, leaving synthetic CBD products and cosmetic applications, governed by the Cosing, unaffected. This selective approach adds to the complexity and confusion surrounding the regulation. Furthermore, it casts uncertainty on the use of CBD in food products, potentially putting Italy at odds with the European market as a whole.

Mr. Bulleri warns that Italy risks isolating itself from the common market. By the end of 2024 or early 2025, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is expected to authorize foods containing CBD throughout Europe, provided it can navigate the Novel Food muddle. If Italy proceeds with this classification, it could become the only European country to consider CBD as a narcotic, hindering its commercial and industrial growth, even though it supplies many European countries with CBD flowers and extracts.

(Featured image by Vox España (CC0 1.0) via Wikimedia Commons)

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First published in Newsweed, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

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