0.3% THC Vote in the European Parliament, Italy Classifies CBD as a Narcotic

In a key vote on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on 23rd of October 2020, the members of the European Parliament voted for the increase of THC level for industrial hemp from 0.2% to 0.3%.

Also, they supported the possibility to establish marketing standards for hemp.

This vote represents a major achievement for the European hemp sector as, if confirmed by the Council, these two provisions will have a major impact on the development of European hemp businesses, said European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) in a statement

The EIHA is truly happy about the outcome of this vote and strongly encourages the Council to take on the given proposals. “For decades, hemp has been considered as a minor crop, while, for centuries, it has been a key asset for our economies. The vote of the Parliament reflects a renewed approach of our society to this wonderful plant that has the potential of decarbonizing many different manufacturing sectors and provides farmers with a consistent and green source of revenues”, said EIHA President Daniel Kruse.

What would this mean for hemp growers?

As EIHA points out, the increase of THC level would allow new varieties to enter the market and to be bred, resulting in a better adaptation of the crops to the climatic conditions of the different EU territories. On the other hand, the possibility to establish marketing standards would translate into a significant increase in the quality and standardization of hemp products, as well as a clear regulatory framework covering a wide range of aspects.

Marketing standards encompass sales descriptions, classification criteria, presentation, labeling, packaging, product characteristics, specific substances used, and farming methods, among others. These exist already for most agricultural products including wine, fruit, vegetables, and olive oil, and it is thus just fair to add hemp to the list, the EIHA emphasized in their statement.

Italy: CBD for oral use must be authorized by the AIFA

As reported by Hemp Today, CBD has been classified as a narcotic in Italy.

Under a decree issued by the Ministry of Health, CBD was officially added to the country’s list of medicines. In a separate order from Italy’s Customs and Monopoly Agency, which quickly followed, the retailers were warned: “not to hold and sell . . . inflorescences (flowers), oils and resins or other products containing substances derived from hemp Sativa.”

This means that CBD for oral use can only be produced with the authorization of AIFA (the Italian Medicines Agency), noted Giacomo Bulleri, a board member at Federcanapa, an Italian hemp trade group. “Therefore the oils on the market for undefined use are illegal,” Bulleri said for the Fanpage.

The move set up an apparent conflict in Italy following a separate recent decree from the Agriculture Ministry that listed hemp flowers for “extraction uses” as an agricultural product, and not a drug.

The new move could be connected to the introduction of Epidiolex to the Italian marker, the analysts observe. UK-headquartered GW Pharmaceuticals has requested authorization to begin selling the product in Italy and is slowly expanding its distribution of the drug in Europe, namely in the U.K., Germany, Spain, and France.

The drug got approval from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 2018, as the first cannabis-derived prescription drug.

The future of smokable hemp in Italy is yet to be seen. These kinds of products are gaining popularity in Italy and Switzerland in the last couple of years. In Switzerland, the level of the legal content of THC in hemp stays at 1%.

Reviewed by Sasha Bajilo, founder of ILESOL Pharmaceuticals, an industrial scale producer of CBD products and formulations. Expert on Hemp/Cannabis policy, member of the Croatian Ministry of Health regulatory commission for medical cannabis.