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Italy and Sweden: court decisions on low-THC cannabis products

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On 30 May 2019, the Court of Cassation, Italy’s highest court issued a note of information regarding the legality of selling low-THC cannabis. Cannabis has created a buzz all around the world with many supporters asking for legalization of medical cannabis. 

This issue followed attempts to prosecute small scale business and entrepreneurs who were openly selling cannabis flowers and other compounds. The products were marketed in a specific manner so as to avoid the attention of any law enforcement by using labels such as ‘not for consumption’ or ‘collectors item’.

The retailers claimed that these cannabis based products contained less than 0.2% THC. Tetrahydro cannabinoid or THC is the psychoactive component found in marijuana that is responsible for causing hallucinations and giving users the ‘high’ they feel while smoking weed. These compounds were not controlled under the narcotics law. 

Contrary to the effects of THC, CBD is another compound that is found in hemp plants, a cannabis genus plant which contains many health benefits. Several people have reported a significant improvement in their health after taking CBD oil or its products. CBD is an anti-inflammatory and non-psychoactive component that is known to reduce pain, swelling, inflammation, acute aches, etc. 

Cannabidiol is also used for relieving mental stress and treating mental health issues like anxiety, depression, panic attacks, epilepsy and Alzheimers’. The Italian law 242 of 2016 states that growing a certain varieties of hemp plants that contain less than 0.2% THC is legal and permitted without any licence and the plants can be used to produce several products including food and cosmetics. 

The note of information issued by the Italian court stated that marketing or promoting Cannabis sativa L.and in particular leaves, flowers, resin, oil that are obtained from the cultivation of the mentioned above in the hemp variety does not fall under the scope of the application of Law 242 of 2016. The law 242 explicitly mentions every product that may be marketed and companies should adhere to it. 

Therefore, sales and marketing of cannabis derived products to the public is an offence under the Italian drug control law, except if the products are in practice devoid of narcotic effects.

Though Italian courts allow 0.2% THC, the U.S. federal government legalized hemp derived CBD products with a maximum concentration of 0.3% per unit under tis Farm Bill in December 2018. CBD has been trending ever since in the consumer market and the business world. Leading companies are associating with cannabis producers to create CBD products that provide value to customers and help their businesses grow. 

Despite the federal government in the U.S. allowing hemp derived CBD products, many states in the U.S. are still holding back in their CBD policies. Consumers, retailers and businesses remain in a grey area, dubious about whether it is safe and legal to produce, market and possess CBD products or not.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is yet to create a regulatory framework for CBD products. Companies continue to sell CBD based products to consumers claiming they are well within the limits mentioned under the Farm Bill Act of 2018. 

Products ranging from oils, topical creams, ointments, tinctures, facemasks, foot creams to gummy bears, pizza, burgers, mocktails, beer, coffee, tea are now available in a CBD infused version where customers can choose if they want to include CBD drops in their products. 

From beauty and skincare to food supplements and medical drugs, CBD has spread across a wide variety of verticals. Reports prove that CBD has decreased the use of Opioids in America. Opioid addiction amongst people had severe impacts on the country. However, with the legalization of CBD, many people have turned to this compound seeking relief in pain, mental health problems and improving sleep patterns. 

 

Supreme Court of Sweden says CBD oil containing THC is a narcotic compound

On 18 June 2019, the Supreme Court of Sweden ruled on a case involving possession of hemp derived CBD oil. As per the Swedish law, industrial hemp is defined as any variety of cannabis eligible for EU support, is exempt from the narcotic control laws. However,the CBD oil contained THC ( the concentration was not known). 

 

THC and preparations containing it are covered under the narcotic control laws. The individual was charged with a minor case of possession of a controlled drug (a substance containing THC). The court said that, while industrial hemp is excused from coverage, preparations made from it that contain tetrahydro cannabinoid or THC are not excused, and are therefore considered in narcotic control laws. 

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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