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Is cannabis legal in Italy?

Is cannabis legal in Italy?

Table of contents

Medical: Legal
Recreational: Decriminalized

Cannabis use is decriminalized in Italy and those who take part typically do not face legal consequences. That said, the possession or sale of cannabis is illegal and can be punished by severe penalties. For instance,, if caught in possession of cannabis in Italy, a person can lose their driving license for between one to three months, and even longer in more serious cases. 

A conviction for selling cannabis can result in a six year prison sentence.

Since 2016, the cultivation of certain strains of hemp has been legal in Italy, as is medical use of cannabis and the use of CBD products. Stores selling so-called ‘cannabis light’ – very low THC cannabis products – are common in Italy.  

Marijuana laws in Italy 

A qualified medical cannabis patient is only legally allowed to use certain products in Italy. Hemp-based CBD oil must have less than 0.6% THC, which is higher than the EU guidelines of 0.2%. 

The law also allows the purchase of cannabis products that are made-to-order for patients and legally prescribed by physicians. Capsules, resins, eye drops, suppositories, creams, transdermal gels, edibles and syrups are all available. 

It’s important to note that Italy often suffers shortages in cannabis products, as that all medical cannabis prescribed in Italy must be produced by the Military Chemical Pharmaceutical Plant, or else imported from Canada or the Netherlands. 

How to get medical marijuana in Italy

Doctors, dentists and even vets can all prescribe cannabis. Before being prescribed medical marijuana, medical professionals must have proof that the patient has tried other medical interventions first. To use medical marijuana in Italy, patients must purchase it at a pharmacy. For some diseases, the health system will pay most of the fee. For others, however, patients must pay the full price. 

Cultivating your own supply of medical marijuana in Italy is still illegal. 

Bergamo, Italy: Drug store, legal shop, selling cannabis and CBD oil. It's legal in Italy for medical and industrial uses.
Bergamo, Italy: Drug store, legal shop, selling cannabis and CBD oil. It’s legal in Italy for medical and industrial uses.

Qualifying conditions for medical cannabis

A wide range of conditions qualify for medical marijuana. Glaucoma, chronic pain, anxiety, multiple sclerosis, nausea, spinal cord injuries, Tourette’s syndrome, AIDs/HIV, anorexia and cachexia are all conditions that doctors can legally prescribe medical cannabis for. Beyond these conditions, it’s up to the discretion of the individual medical professional whether or not someone qualifies for medical marijuana. 

Costs of medical marijuana

The costs of marijuana in Italy have recently been standardized. Due to the lack of a steady supply of medical marijuana in Italy, prices shot up as high as €50 per gram. However, measures have been taken to make this more equitable. 

Since June 2017, no medical cannabis sold in Italy can be more expensive than €8.50 to €9 per gram due to price controls enacted by the Ministry of Health.

Can foreigners access medical marijuana?

In order to receive medical marijuana in Italy, foreigners will need to go to an Italian doctor to provide a prescription. If foreigners don’t have access to an Italian doctor, and don’t have Italian medical records that state they’ve tried at least one other treatment for their condition, they’re out of luck. However, they can bring cannabis with them, as possession of cannabis is not criminalized under marijuana laws in Italy. 

They can also try their hand at purchasing illicit cannabis on the street, or buy the ‘cannabis light’ products that are widely available, but sorely lacking in THC. 

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