Is weed legal in Italy?

Is weed legal in Italy?

Jun 28, 2023

The legal status and discussion surrounding cannabis in Italy are characterized by uncertainty. The true nature of the laws and their distinctions remains unclear. In Italy, cannabis regulations can be broadly categorized into two main groups: medical and recreational use, each with its own requirements and penalties.

Medical Use

The cultivation, sale, and importation of medical cannabis are permitted, but only with authorization from the Ministry of Health. This authorization is granted to companies or institutions that demonstrate good conduct and ensure that the cannabis is used for professional purposes. Physicians authorized by the Ministry of Health can prescribe medically authorized cannabis. If a product requested is not allowed in Italy but is in another country, the Italian doctor must submit an application to the Ministry of Health and the customs office to import the medicine.

Physicians can also prescribe "magistral medicines," which are products prepared in a pharmacy for a specific patient. These medicines can be made from imported cannabis or domestically produced cannabis. Engaging in these activities without proper authorization can result in imprisonment ranging from six to twenty years and fines ranging from 26,000 to 260,000 euros.

Recreational Use

The legal situation becomes more ambiguous when it comes to recreational use. Selling cannabis in Italy is illegal but has been decriminalized. However, some companies have taken advantage of this by producing products with low THC content (the main psychoactive compound in marijuana). These sales are allowed under industrial cannabis legislation, which permits the use of cannabis for industrial purposes such as textiles, fabrics, soap, food, and building materials. In September 2021, the Ministry of Health stated that industrial cannabis could be used for the purpose of supplying pharmaceutical companies with proper authorization.

Cannabis can be used for industrial purposes if its THC content is lower than 0.2%. According to Law 242 of 2016, if someone is caught by authorities with cannabis containing more than 0.2% but less than 0.6% THC, there will be no repercussions. Italy introduced Law 79 in 2014, which reclassified cannabis as a less dangerous drug. Although recreational use is illegal but decriminalized, possession of cannabis for personal use may result in a fine but not a felony. The maximum allowable amount for personal consumption is 1.5 grams, and as long as this limit is not exceeded, there will be no severe punishments, except the risk of a fine. However, repeat offenses may lead to more stringent measures.

Law 79 is what creates the ambiguity surrounding cannabis. The consequences can vary depending on the location and the individuals involved. Sometimes a verbal warning may be issued, while other times a fine may be imposed. It is advisable to carry only a small amount of cannabis at a time and to smoke indoors if necessary.

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