European Legalization Update: Italy

European Legalization Update: Italy

If you’re planning to travel to Italy to buy some legal recreational weed, you should probably lower your expectations. While you can technically buy buds in Italy, actually using them is another story.

In Italy, hemp flowers with less than 0.2 percent of THC are sold in little jars. But if you think it’s legal to smoke (or eat) them, you’d be wrong.

So why would you buy some hemp flowers in a cute little jar? To put on a shelf as a decoration, perhaps? Yes, actually. According to The New York Times, these cute little jars are marketed as “collectors’ items.”

So… Do more Italians have complete bud collections at home just to look at, or do they secretly smoke these “collectors’ items”? Let’s just say the latter is more plausible.

The Legislative Void

A long time ago, there was a huge industrial hemp industry in Italy. The crop was mainly used to create fabric. Unfortunately, the industry had a hard time staying alive, and in 2016, Italy decided to revive the industrial hemp industry. By doing so, however, they created a legislative void.

While the law limits buds to no more more than 0.2% of THC — buds that you can’t smoke or ingest them in any way — the law says nothing about selling or buying the marijuana flowers. This has led to many stores opening up and selling this “cannabis light.”

The MMJ Void

Medical marijuana has been legal for quite some time in Italy, but there’s a problem: The Italian military’s Institute of Pharmaceuticals in Florence is the only legal medical marijuana producer in the country. And while it might seem like the agency is trying to increase production every year, it simply can’t keep up with the demand.

In an attempt to provide patients with their medicine, Italy imports medical marijuana from the Netherlands and Canada. However, according to La Stampa, since even the country’s importation efforts aren’t enough to meet demand, many patients are seeking out illegal street dealers or growing their own.

Not only does Italy’s legal MMJ have a long way to go before it’s on par with other countries’, but there is no indication that the country is even considering legalization of recreational weed. So, for now, weed-loving visitors will instead be forced to forego getting high and take in the Colosseum and enjoy some cannolis, instead.