CBD has been declared a narcotic under new regulations in Italy, with products banned from being sold by retailers.
Legislation from the Ministry of Health, published in Italy’s Official Gazette on Thursday 15 October states that CBD has been added to the country’s list of medicines.
It was followed by a separate order from Italy’s Customs and Monopoly Agency warning retailers not to sell flowers, oils, resins or other products containing substances extracted from hemp, according to Italian website fanpage.it.
The regulations appear to be in conflict with a recent order from the Agriculture Ministry in the country that listed hemp flowers for “extraction uses” as an agricultural product.
Experts in the UK have described the situation as ‘laughable’ and a ‘bureaucratic mess’.
Peter Reynolds, of CannaPro, the trade association for the UK’s cannabis, CBD and hemp businesses, told Cannabis Health: “Two departments in the Italian Government seem to be contradicting each other, it’s laughable really.
“The whole situation is a complete nightmare. This is what happens when a bunch of bureaucrats meddle in something that they don’t understand.”
The move comes amid uncertainty over the future of CBD in Europe, following a ‘preliminary conclusion’ issued earlier this year that the cannabinoid and other extracts from hemp flowers would be better regulated as narcotics under the UN’s Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
This would make it impossible for the market to exist in its current form and would be ‘devastating’ for the industry, according to Peter.
“It would completely devastate the industry. It would put thousands and thousands of people out of work, probably tens of thousands, as it would extend into all the eastern European states, where producing hemp for CBD is quite a big industry.
“I just cannot see how they could even conceive of doing it.”
Next month the European Court of Justice (CJEU) is expected to rule on whether restricting the sale of CBD products legally produced in other EU countries breaches the rules of the European single market, following the prosecution of French company, Kannavape for importing CBD products from the Czech Republic.
As CJEU rulings are binding on EU institutions as well as member states, a decision on whether CBD should be classed as a narcotic would have to be respected by the European Commission.
Peter, who expects the Kannavape case to be upheld, is hopeful that the whole thing will be resolved before the end of the year.
“The European Commission will have to back down and they’ll go back to novel food regulations,” he added.
“The whole thing should have been stopped a long time ago.”
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