Is CBD legal in Italy?

Is CBD legal in Italy?
Steven Voser

After some key changes in legislation, Italy is home to a vibrant yet confusing cannabis scene that leaves many people wondering whether cannabis derivatives such as CBD are technically legal. Keep reading to find out.

Italy has a long history with cannabis. At least since Roman times, cannabis and hemp cultivation and use have been widespread. Today, Italy is home to a thriving cannabis movement and a changing yet confusing legal landscape, especially regarding the legality of CBD. Below we take a look at CBD laws in Italy and see what's legal and what's not.

Is cbd legal in italy?

In general, CBD products are legal in Italy as long as they meet certain criteria. As Italy is a country within the European Union, it abides by the EU’s free movement of goods regulation, and its laws regarding CBD are similar to those of other EU countries.

However, the official legal status of CBD in Italy is still somewhat vague. A new decree that will come into effect in 2023 is expected to provide more clarity about exactly what constitutes legal CBD and cannabis in general.

The way to CBD legalization in Italy

The current legal situation in Italy regarding CBD is the result of a series of recent court decisions and legislative changes, as well as a strong activist movement that prompted a change in attitude toward cannabis in general.

In 2016, the Italian Supreme Court ruled that cultivating cannabis for personal use was not a crime, and also decriminalised the personal possession and use of small amounts of cannabis. Shortly after, in 2019, the Italian Ministry of Health issued a decree stating that hemp-derived CBD was legal across the country as long as it contained less than 0.6% THC. However, the decree did not provide clear guidelines for CBD products, leading to confusion and legal disputes that still persist today.

In 2020, the Italian Supreme Court ruled that CBD cannot be classified as a narcotic substance, providing further clarity on the legal status of CBD in the country. A new decree is slated to come into effect in 2023, which is expected to provide more comprehensive guidelines on what’s legal and what’s not.

CBD criteria in Italy

The way to cbd legalization in italy

At the time of writing this article, CBD products in Italy have to comply with certain criteria in order to be considered legal. These criteria relate to the THC content of a product, its effects, and whether the product is classified as a medicine or novel food.

THC content

In Italy, CBD products must not contain more than 0.6% THC in order to be considered legal. This requirement is in line with EU regulations regarding CBD, which help to keep the legal market free of products with intoxicating effects.

This is one of the overruling criteria regarding CBD products in Italy, and products brought onto the Italian market are expected to strictly comply with the aforementioned THC limits.

Free of narcotic effects

In Italy, CBD products are only legal if they are free of any kind of intoxicating or narcotic effects. In other words, CBD products in Italy must not get you “high”. These products must undergo testing to ensure they meet this condition, as well as to test the purity and potency of the product. Again, this is similar to the laws of other EU countries.

Medical CBD

Medical CBD products are legal in Italy, but they must be prescribed by a doctor. Learn more about the difference between medical and recreational cannabis for a better idea of what constitutes a medical cannabis product.

EU novel food authorisation

In accordance with EU law, Italy recognises CBD as a novel food, and therefore demands that CBD products abide by EU regulation 2015/2283. Novel foods can be used as an ingredient in food supplements and can be sold fairly liberally. However, EU regulations require novel foods to comply with strict rules regarding labelling and marketing. For example, CBD products cannot be marketed as having any kind of health benefits under Italian and EU law.

Eu novel food authorisation

CBD products come in all shapes and sizes. As long as a CBD product abides by the relevant EU regulations and the aforementioned limits on THC and narcotic effects, it can be sold and bought legally within Italy. Right now, some of the CBD products considered legal and readily sold across Italy include the following.

CBD oils

CBD oils and tinctures are legal in Italy if they contain less than 0.6% THC and have no narcotic effects. In most cases, these products are considered novel foods and are therefore governed by EU novel food regulations.

CBD gummies

Like oils, CBD gummies are legal in Italy if they comply with the criteria mentioned above.

CBD topicals/cosmetics

CBD topicals and cosmetics (such as creams, oils, lotions, and balms) are legal in Italy as long as they abide by all the aforementioned criteria. However, CBD cosmetics also need to abide by EU regulation No 1223/2009 specific to cosmetic products.

Where can you buy CBD products in Italy?

Cbd topicals/cosmetics

There are two main ways to buy CBD in Italy; from a local retailer (offline), or online from a CBD brand/company that ships to the EU.

Buying CBD online

There’s no shortage of online retailers selling CBD in all shapes and forms. If you want to buy CBD online in Italy, be sure to do your homework and buy from a reputable brand with products that abide by EU law and all the criteria listed above.

Buying CBD offline

Since Italy legalized hemp in 2016, “cannabis light” shops started popping up all over Rome and other major Italian cities. These stores sell dried hemp flowers with low levels of THC, as well as a wide variety of other cannabis products, including CBD. If you’re visiting Italy, consider visiting one of the many cannabis light shops to score some local CBD.

Can you take CBD to Italy?

Buying cbd offline

Yes, you can cross the Italian border with CBD, as long as the product you’re carrying meets the requirements and criteria described in this article. CBD can be moved freely within the EU, but remember not to travel with it outside of the EU, as other regulations may apply. Also, be sure to always stay up-to-date about CBD and cannabis laws before travelling to ensure you’re operating within the law.

One thing to consider, however, is that taking cannabis light/hemp flower through customs may be problematic, as there’s no way to tell from appearance alone that the flower doesn’t contain excess levels of THC. While you may be operating within the law, it could be more trouble than it’s worth. To prevent issues, try to keep your hemp flower in its original packaging, with the CBD and THC content clearly labelled.

So, can you get in trouble for CBD in Italy?

In general, as long as CBD products meet the criteria outlined above, you should have no problem using or carrying CBD in Italy. However, remember that cannabis laws are always changing, so it is important to stay up-to-date on Italian laws regarding CBD.

Steven Voser
Steven Voser

Steven is a long-time veteran of cannabis journalism, having delved into every aspect of the subject. His particular interests lie in cannabis culture, the emerging science of cannabis, and how it is shaping the legal landscape across the globe.