Legal Status: Yes
Throughout Italy and beyond, food supplements containing hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) have surged in popularity in recent years as more and more people discover the wellness benefits of incorporating them into their everyday routine. Hemp and CBD have quickly become some of Italians’ favorite food supplements.
Even as hemp and CBD’s popularity grows, because of cannabidiol’s association to the cannabis plant, many consumers in Italy question whether or not CBD oil and CBD products are legal to buy and use where they live.
Here, we cover hemp laws in Italy and help clarify the answer to the question, “Is CBD legal in Italy?”
The Italian government’s stance on Hemp & CBD
To answer the question directly, yes — hemp and CBD are legal in Italy.
In Italy, you can legally buy and sell hemp-derived CBD oil, provided it contains less than 0.6% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This THC percentage, while far below the levels that would elicit any type of intoxicating effect, is relatively high compared to some other European countries, which stay within the union’s imposed THC limit on hemp CBD products of 0.2%.
Not surprisingly, the Italian government has followed and adopted the outcomes regarding the legality of CBD and hemp as decided by the European Union (EU). While there’s been some confusion in some EU Member States in recent years as to whether CBD is a legal herb, hemp and CBD are legal in the EU for both buying and selling.
The legality of CBD in Italy is covered by the EU’s free movement of goods, which dictates that any products that are placed lawfully to the market in one of the Member States can be legally sold, bought, and used in all Member States.
This was reiterated in November 2020 by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The court’s legal position was that European law precludes any individual EU country’s prohibition on the importation of CBD from another Member State. Because CBD “does not appear to have any psychotropic effect or any harmful effect on human health,” the court concluded, it is not a narcotic drug and falls under CBD legal EU law.
The laws around cannabis in Italy have shifted since the 1990s. After being decriminalized and classified as a “soft drug” in 1990, in 2006 under the Fini-Giovanardi law it was classified as a “hard drug” before finally being legalized in 2013 for industrial and medical purposes.
Are you also wondering, “Is hemp legal in Italy?” Hemp cultivation is an old tradition in Italy, and the crop was used to make foods, ropes and sales, clothing, animal food, oils for lighting, and more. Today, there is hemp legalization in Italy. Hemp laws in Italy now allow the growing of hemp with a maximum THC content of 0.2% with a tolerance level up to 0.6%.
In October 2020, Italy’s Ministry of Health proposed in a decree to classify CBD derived from the flower of the cannabis plant as a medicine. This classification would have required many of the hemp CBD companies already operating in the market to undergo a long and complex process to have their products approved as medicine, and would have virtually destroyed Italy’s growing hemp CBD market. Thankfully, the Health Ministry has already backed down from their proposal after it was rejected by a pool of members of Parliament (MPs).
From the rejected proposal, however, came the decision to create a round table that is tasked with determining the best legislative framework for hemp and its derived products. The participants of this round table will include representatives from national associations, companies, officials from the Health Ministry, and MPs.
Legal Medicine vs Food Supplement – Italian Laws
CBD products that are made from hemp and don’t exceed the 0.6% THC limit are considered a food supplement in Italy and legal to buy and use. These hemp CBD oil products, including oils and liquids, are meant to naturally support health and wellness by positively influencing the body’s endocannabinoid system, a major regulatory network responsible for maintaining homeostasis.
Italy has not yet established any legal CBD-based medicines. Medical cannabis products, which contain higher concentrations of THC, are legally available in smokeable and edible forms with a prescription from an approved physician.
Cannabis Light – How much CBD & THC is legally allowed?
In addition to hemp-derived CBD oil, Italy also allows for cannabis strains that are high in CBD and low in THC, referred to as “Cannabis Light” to be bought and sold. Cannabis Light is a catchy name Italians have for particular strains of cannabis that have very low THC levels of 0.2% to 0.6%.
Cannabis Light is legal under Law 242, which Italian lawmakers passed in 2016 to ease growing restrictions on hemp farmers and encourage agricultural sustainability. It then became widely available in Italy in 2017.
In Italy, Cannabis Light is sold in a dried flower form that looks identical to marijuana flower. There are many strains of Cannabis Light, and while they vary in names, colors, and characteristics, like hemp CBD oil they don’t elicit any psychoactive effects.
Legal Cannabis Light products cannot contain any more than 0.6% THC.
CBD vs THC
It’s important to distinguish between CBD, or cannabidiol, and THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol. Both are natural compounds found in plants belonging to the Cannabis genus. They’re both cannabinoids, and share a similar molecular structure to the body’s own endocannabinoids, allowing them to interact with the body’s receptors.
Despite these similarities between the two, CBD and THC elicit different reactions when they interact with receptors in the body. CBD is non-psychoactive, or non-intoxicating, which means you don’t experience any type of euphoric effects, or “high,” with consumption. THC, on the other hand, will cause a level of euphoria when consumed at high enough levels. It’s the main psychoactive compound in marijuana and is responsible for the “high” sensation.
That’s why CBD is generally sold and used to naturally support wellness. It’s most commonly available in the form of an oil, extract, supplement, tincture, or topical.
Third Party CBD Testing
Whenever you’re buying or selling CBD products, it’s incredibly important to work with manufacturers who have responsible quality control measures in place. That includes verifying the safety and reliability of their products through third-party testing.
When CBD products are tested by third parties, you can be better assured that the products contain the levels of cannabidiol (CBD) as written on their labels, and that they are free from any type of contaminants, including mold, mildew, fungus, yeast, E.coli, Salmonella, Mycotoxins, heavy metals, and residual solvents.
Are You Buying CBD?
In Italy, CBD products made from hemp and containing no more than 0.6% THC are legal to buy and use. CBD is considered a food, and you can legally find it in forms designed to be taken orally, including oils, liquids, and tinctures.
Cosmetic products, including topical salves, balms, and lotions, that contain CBDare also perfectly legal to use and buy in Italy.
If you’re in Italy and looking to buy CBD products, there are some considerations you should keep in mind.
First, a common concern many in Italy have about purchasing CBD products from abroad is whether the products could get stuck in customers. To reduce the risk of that happening and to help ensure that you buy only high-quality hemp products, our advice is to do the following:
- Only buy products containing either very low or no detectable levels of THC. Both hemp CBD oil and Cannabis Light products must contain no more than 0.6% THC. It’s better to be safe and stick with products with no more than 0.2% THC.
- Purchase products only from manufacturers who utilize third-party quality and safety testing
- Make sure the products you’re considering list all ingredients on their labels
- Choose manufacturers who are members of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA)
- Only buy from companies who refrain from making any type of irresponsible medical claims
Are You Selling CBD?
Distributing CBD in Italy and elsewhere in Europe is very challenging. You’ll often find that many merchants, online stores, and even payment providers refuse to work with CBD companies and CBD products. For those that day, it can be tricky to get approved and it can take a significant amount of time to eventually get to the point where you can sell them and get them into stores.
If you’re interested in getting into the CBD business, there are options. One existing solution is Kannaway, which operates in Italy and allows you to quickly and easily launch your own hemp CBD distribution business.
If you decide to sell CBD in Italy, or already do so, it’s important to always remember that you need to avoid making any type of medical claims about the products that you’re selling. It’s true that there are many wonderful stories available online about the wellness benefits of daily servings of CBD oil, but every person’s experience is unique. Make sure you refrain from marketing your hemp CBD oil products on the promise of them being able to cure or treat any condition.
Hemp & CBD legality EU & Italy
With the rapid rise in the popularity of hemp and CBD, many people in Italy are asking the questions:
- Is it possible to buy and sell legal CBD and legal hemp in Italy?
- In Italy, is CBD a legal herb? Can I use legally the natural compound to promote my wellness?
If you’re hoping to pursue hemp and CBD in Italy, you’re in luck. CBD products that are derived from hemp and contain only trace levels of THC (no more than 0.6%), are legally available to buy, sell, and use.
We believe hemp is a human right and aim to move the conversation forward about hemp.