Is CBD legal in Italy? Here is where things stand

Is CBD legal in Italy?

Modified on: 19/05/2023

CBD is legal in Italy?

The legalization of CBD in Italy and of CBD vape is a complicated issue: a long path that saw a huge step forward in 2016 and a small step back in May 2019.

In this study will clarify this big chaos of legal provisions, in order to return a panorama as complete as possible of the situation of light Cannabis and its contents in Italy.

The path to legalization and the end of an unjustified prohibition that has been going on for almost a century is still long. Numerous countries have done it, others only partially. Italy will have to take a definitive position sooner or later.

Meanwhile, we immediately specify that CBD liquid for electronic cigarettes are NOT illegal in Italy. There is no law prohibiting their purchase or consumption. The health ministry has simply not yet ruled on this, but CBD vape are known to be marketed and used all over the world without any health risks.

In Italy we are still substantially backward at the legal level, due to the usual bureaucratic problems and administrative slowness.

From 1990 to 2016: history of an administrative offense

CBD vape is legal in Italy

A first step towards the dismantling of the veto on one of the most fascinating plants on our planet was taken in 1993, following a popular referendum (18/19 April), which modified the previous Decree of the President of the Republic of 9 October 1990.

Otherwise known as law no. 309of 9 October 1990, it was a single text which established that the simple possession for personal use of drugs was to be considered a crime (and consequently punishable according to the Criminal Code).

The Referendum of 1993, after an intense public debate, sanctioned the modification of the previous law 309: the possession of a narcotic for personal use, established according to a precise calculation that took into account the percentage of active ingredients contained in the substance, it was not considered as a crime, but an administrative offense.

It was a huge step forward, because the use of drugs cannot be fought with brute force.

After 1993, however, Italian legislation decided to take another sad and back step. In 2006, with the Fini-Giovanardi law (law of 21st of February, n.49), things changed again. In fact, with this provision any distinction between soft drugs (cannabis) and hard drugs (heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, etc.) was abolished.

Fortunately, the law was abolished in 2014 by the Constitutional Court, with the provision of February 12. In this way we returned to the previous situation, in which the possession of drugs for personal use continued to be considered an administrative offense.

Read also: Liquid for electronic cigarette with THC: why it is illegal and what risks it involves using it

2016: the year of the change

2016 marked the change: with the law n.242 of 2 December 2016, in fact, the production and marketing of light cannabis was completely legalized, a substance that also contains CBD.

Cannabis light is the cannabis variety specifically selected to have a THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) concentration of less than 0.6%. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, the main cause of the high. However, THC has nothing to do with CBD, the non-psychotropic active ingredient found in cannabis.

A THC concentration within 0.6% is so low to cause any reaction in the consumer and for this reason it is permissible to market THC today.

One of the consequences of the provision was the spread of Grow Shops in all the country which are more than 900, for a total of about 150 million euros subtracted from the black market.

The 2016 law created an administrative vacuum that allowed the free spread of products derived from cannabis light, from inflorescences to oils, edible capsules and even products containing CBD such as liquids for electronic cigarettes.

Although after these measures, smoking the inflorescences remained an administrative offense, the different uses of cannabis light were not considered illegal and therefore have become widespread. Perhaps no one expected what happened next.

2019: the step back

In 2019, more precisely on May 30th, things have changed again in Italy. The Cassation, in fact, amended a provision that was mistakenly seen as the end of the short history of cannabis light.

We will not mention the names of the main exponents who have caused this back step and who have spread the erroneous belief that the Supreme Court has sanctioned the illegality of cannabis light: their names are known by everyone.

The important thing to say is that the Supreme Court has simply tightened controls and declared illegal the sale of products that have even minimal percentages of THC.

legality of cbd liquid

Now there are numerous clarifications to be made: a sentence of the Supreme Court has no binding value for the judges, but is limited to expressing the orthodox interpretation of the law: it is not the end of cannabis light, but the clarification of the fact that in Italy there is still a certain backwardness and several knots to be resolved on these issues.

For this reason, the free sale of CBD-based products, such as the CBD liquid in the Terpy Store, are still legal and their use is free and legitimate.

Actually, despite the sentence of the Supreme Court, the Grow Shops continue their business and continue to expand. Consumers continue to purchase and benefit from CBD products and the fight against the black market continues to be carried on.

Read also: Extracted flavours: characteristics of the most popular e cig flavours

So, is CBD legal? 

The answer and the law n.242 of 2 December 2016 remains ambiguous. CBD in Italy is not prohibited, this is the right answer. And, since it is not prohibited, anyone can make free use of it, without violating other laws, of course.

We hope we were quite clear and if there should be updates on the matter, we will inform you as fast as possible. In the meantime, we advise you to take a look at our Store to continue to enjoy all the typical benefits of CBD with certified and quality products.