You are here
Home > News > Italian City of Bologna Supports Recreational Cannabis Reform |

Italian City of Bologna Supports Recreational Cannabis Reform |

Bologna has four city counsellors who support recreational cannabis reform.

In this central, northern city known for its historical infrastructure dating back to medieval times, the goal is to continue the debate about cannabis reform on a local level to keep political pressure alive—and to figure out basic logistics. In Bologna, the current suggestion is that initial recreational access happens through the city’s pharmacies (much like the Swiss model rolling out this summer just across the border).

Italy’s Legalization Situation

While the country’s reform efforts are comparable to those of other European countries, they do not copy any.

“Medical cannabis” with high THC is produced at the Military Pharmaceutical Chemical plant (located in Florence) and also imported via strict pharmaceutically defined channels. 

Although the facilities are owned and operated by Aurora (private vendors), it is highly secure.

Even though home-grown cannabis isn’t strictly legal, there has been case precedent that decriminalized the practice for patients who have proven they are sick. This does not cover them against police raids but there’s a greater awareness of the fact that it is difficult to completely remove this problem from the room.

Beyond this, hemp and low THC, aka “cannabis light,” is also legal in the country (formally) putting Italy on par with the UK rather than, say, Germany in this regard right now although there is a growing CBD market in Germany. The threat of criminal charges is always a possibility for vendors. There are currently more than 200 cases against CBD-only establishments. It is not the case in Italy. There are low-THC products available online and at specialist stores.

A petition drive was launched to legalize recreational marijuana, which was stopped by the Constitutional Court recently. However, reform is unlikely at any federal level in Europe right now.

Bologna (as well as Milan before it) have been trying to address the issue at a lower level. As in this instance, it is a semi-coordinated effort not seen so far in any European country. Bologna specifically referred to the Milanese effort favorably as ministers brought up the subject.

It’s spreading.

How important is the Italian market for European Reform

European nations are trying to find ways to get into the recreational marijuana market, just like the US. No one wants to dive in at the very deep end. The Swiss experiment proves this to be a crucial example. It shows, however, that even though it is limited in scope, a European country can conduct a cannabis national trial and that the sky won’t fall.

There are also multiple signs here that the hemp cultivation sector is moving ahead—including for phytoremediation purposes.

The country is a great place to import cannabis CBD. Many Swiss sellers are currently looking into the opportunities to sell in France and Italy for this reason.

Beyond this, no matter how much the police, government ministers and certainly the legitimate industry does not like this conversation, home grow cannot continue to be penalized with federal criminal charges—especially for people with severe illnesses.

This was established by Italian court precedent. It is not the case for Germany.

The medical aspect of this discussion is that THC is currently not allowed in Italy. However, Italy has, just like Germany, tried to incorporate the psychoactive cannabinoid and the plant into standardized medical channels. The EU GMP Flower grown in domestic settings is therefore required by the military. 

Italy is also interestingly placed by its neighbours due to the suppression of a petition for a national referendum. One German professor has proposed a nationwide referendum on rec reform. He knows, however that the Basic Law of Germany would need to be amended first in order to permit such a petition to take place. This is nothing but a calculated move to slow down the whole conversation. It is unlikely that the Constitutional Court will reject the petition in Italy allowing such a mandate. Federal politicians can continue pushing the agenda further down the road, even though it has been ruled out by the Italian Constitutional Court.

The interesting system of city-bycity communication among northern Italian cities shows that there is no stopping progress.

These parts say that Rome was built over time.