The Italian government has controversially reclassified cannabidiol (CBD) as a narcotic. This latest development is another twist in the ongoing regulatory saga around the hemp-derived compound in the European country.
Despite the global CBD market forecasting a growth from 4.9 Billion in 2022 to 47.22 billion by 2030, Italy seems to be taking a step back. The current anticipated CAGR for the industry stands at 21.2%.
Historically, the regulatory position in Italy has been inconsistent.
In 2020, a decree was issued tagging CBD as a narcotic, only to be repealed shortly after. A subsequent 2021 decree met the same fate, with the regional court of Lazio advising alignment with EU regulations.
It’s notable that in 2020, the European Commission, applicable to all EU member states, ruled that CBD shouldn’t be classified as a narcotic. However, the Italian Ministry of Health has chosen to diverge from this stance. Their latest announcement, published in the Official Gazette, becomes effective from September 21, 2023.
According to Hemp Today, key industry stakeholders, including Canapa Sativa Italia and Federcanapa, are publicly opposing this move, warning of its potential negative impact on businesses and the local CBD market. Expert neuropharmacologist, Viola Brugnatelli, underscored the economic repercussions, while legal expert Carlo Alberto Zaina urged industry unity against this decree.
Despite these changes, Italy’s medical cannabis market, which has witnessed steady growth over recent years, continues to source cannabis primarily from the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, and Germany, with Aurora Cannabis Inc. ACB among the top suppliers since 2019.
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