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.