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Italy’s Push To Ban Hemp Flower Products Is Bad For Public Health Strategies

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Cannabis products that are low in THC content, often referred to as ‘cannabis light,’ are very popular throughout Europe. Cannabis light products are derived from the flowers of hemp plants and come in many forms, with CBD products being the most commonly found in the European marketplace.

One country in Europe where cannabis light products are particularly popular is Italy where the nation’s government is pushing for a national ban on such products. Italy’s Ministry of Health tried classifying CBD as a narcotic in October 2020, just to reverse the policy change days after enacting it.

Then, in early 2022, language in a 2018 decree was updated to classify hemp as strictly a medicinal plant, however, cannabis associations sued and the language in the decree was annulled roughly a year after it was adopted. The latest push to ban hemp flowers in Italy is largely led by the country’s Prime Minister. Per Hemp Today:

The Italian government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has taken aim at industrial hemp in legislation that would wipe out CBD and all other products derived from the plant’s flowers.

The proposal would ban hemp flowers from “import, processing, possession, transfer, distribution, trade, transport, dispatch, delivery, sale to the public and for consumption, even in semi-finished, dried or shredded form,” according to language in a draft amendment to country’s controversial Security Bill.

Cannabis is currently legal in Europe for adult use in Malta, Luxembourg, and Germany. All three nations have accepted the reality that people will consume cannabis whether it’s legal to do so or not, and that it is obviously better for adults to consume regulated products instead of unregulated products.

Regulated cannabis products are tested to make sure that they are safe for human consumption, and the same is not true for unregulated cannabis products. Humans consuming unregulated cannabis products, including hemp flowers and products derived from them, is not as good for public health outcomes compared to humans consuming regulated products.

Italy would be wise to reverse course and refrain from its push to ban hemp-derived products. In addition to bans on hemp products being illogical, it likely also violates European law. Hemp businesses have already indicated that they will pursue legal remedies if the ban is enacted.

Leaders in Italy’s hemp industry estimate that the nation is currently home to over 3,000 businesses that employ over 15,000 people.