European Cannabis Round-Up: Italy’s Highest Court Blocks Cannabis Reform, Swiss CBD Scandal, Swedish Hemp, Portugal, Germany And The UK

A BID to hold a national referendum to legalise the cultivation of cannabis for personal use in Italy has been blocked by the country’s highest court.

Over 630,000 people had signed the petition supporting the vote, however Italy’s Constitutional Court rejected the request on Wednesday this week, reports Reuters.

Giuliano Amato, the Constitutional Court president, said the referendum included other narcotics considered to be hard drugs, which could not be liberalised.

“This is enough to make us violate multiple international obligations,” said Mr Amato, a former prime minister.

Lawmaker Riccardo Magi, one of the referendum’s leading advocates, told Reuters the court’s decision was ‘a terrible blow to democracy’.

Non-Compliant CBD

In neighbouring Switzerland over eight in 10 CBD products being sold to consumers are illegal, says the Swiss Association of Cantonal Chemists.

Sellers of CBD foodstuffs are failing to fulfil their legal obligations to self-monitor their products, said the food safety oversight body, describing the situation as ‘disastrous’, reports swissinfo.ch.

Out of 100 products analysed by the association, 85 were found to be non-compliant and 73 were ordered to be removed from sale. 

Those ordered to be taken from the shelves were mainly CBD oils – 43 out of 46 analysed – with this primarily being due a higher than permitted level of THC.

The Association of Cantonal Chemists examined 100 different foods that contain cannabis or cannabis extracts, and were chosen because of specific claims they contained CBD. 

In addition to CBD oils, the cantonal chemists analysed dietary supplements, hemp infusions, chewing gum and chocolate as part of a national campaign.

Switzerland, as one of Europe’s cannabis pioneers, changed its laws in 2011 to let adults buy and use cannabis with up to 1% THC. It will shortly begin adult-use cannabis trials with Basel, Bern, Biel, Geneva and Zurich all having expressed interest in participating.

Basel Town Hall – the city is keen on taking part in the cannabis trial

Swedish Hemp Challenge

New draft rules from the Swedish Ministry of Social Affairs aim to ‘prevent cannabis and products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from reaching the consumer level while at the same time allowing cultivation of hemp as an agricultural product’.

However Mari Elfving, Chairman of the Swedish Industrial Hemp Association (SIHA), says the proposals are an over-reaction, reports Hemp Today.

“The memorandum wrongly assumes hemp is first and foremost a drug, and not an important agricultural crop and bio-based material resource. EU certified hemp with controlled low THC content is no longer covered by the international drug conventions.”

Swedish hemp cultivation grew from 150 hectares in 2004 to 829 hectares three years later but has subsequently declined to less than 200 hectares, with most hemp farms being small plots.

Canada-based MediCane Health says its Portuguese subsidiary MHI Cultivo Medicinal has received European Union Good Manufacturing Practices (EU-GMP) certification from Infarmed, the Portuguese National Authority for Medicines and Health products, to produce cannabis for medical and research purposes.

Meanwhile, fellow Canadian cannabis company The Flowr Corporation says its wholly-owned Portuguese subsidiary, Holigen Holdings has produced its first high-THC medical cannabis harvest at its EU-GMP Sintra facility.

German Recreational Opportunities

The Australian reports that UK-based CBD firm Dragonfly Biosciences has delayed plans to launch on the Australian Stock Exchange. Late last year, Dragonfly said it was seeking to raise A$10m valuing the company at $95m.

However, according to a report in The Australian, while the company remains publicly committed to the plan, investors have been told the IPO has been deferred.

Vancouver-based cannabis company Agra Ventures says its German subsidiary Farmako is well-positioned to take advantage of the upcoming legalisation of recreational cannabis in Germany.

Frankfurt-based Farmako is currently focused on the medical cannabis market with Agra saying it is in a god position to import its cannabis extracts and dried flowers as well as CBD and THC test kits.”

Farmako MD Katrin Eckmans said: ”If cannabis is legalised and German citizens can get behind its responsible use based on a solid framework as we expect it, then we as a pharmaceutical cannabis provider are best positioned to import and supply our products to a significantly increased client base,” reports Proactive Investors.

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