Italy’s CBD ban pushed back further by court
Last week, Italy’s Regional Administrative Court of Lazio (TAR) confirmed its position, ruling in favour of suspending a decree that would make CBD oil a narcotic substance until January 16, 2024.
In early October, Business of Cannabis reported that the TAR of Lazio, the same regional court responsible for overturning a similar decree making hemp flower a narcotic in February, had suspended the decree until October 24.
This initial suspension has now been extended by nearly three months, with a new hearing to consider the decree’s merits pencilled in for mid-January, following the submission of an appeal by the Ministry of Health.
New evidence is now understood to have been put forward by the Ministry of Health, the Italian Medicines Agency, Istituto Superiore di Sanità and the Superior Council of Health ahead of the hearing.
According to the TAR of Lazio, there are no ‘established concrete dangers of inducing physical or mental dependence’ from CBD and there ‘does not appear to be, as things stand, any imminent risks for the protection of public health’.
It continued that this means ‘the conditions exist for suspending the contested measure, with the decision on the merits to be made shortly, due to the relevance of the matter, at the first public hearing available in the section’s calendar’.
Campaign groups responsible for having the bill suspended initially, including Federcanapa, said they hope January’s hearing will deliver a final ruling ‘so that the sector can have more freedom in the year ahead’.
Switzerland approves 6th adult-use trial
The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has approved the country’s sixth adult-use cannabis trial, which is now scheduled to launch later this year and will run until 2028.
The ‘Grashaus Project’ was officially granted final approval by the health authorities last week, and will for the first time in Europe see cannabis legally dispensed through dedicated stores, rather than via pharmacies or clubs.
According to the FOPH, the key aim of the study will be to examine whether the ‘controlled sale of high-quality, organically grown cannabis by trained sales personnel in cannabis shops can shift consumption towards a reduction in the harm caused, a reduction in illegal use and the associated problems, and improvements from a health (physical), psychological and social perspective’.
It is set to take place in the canton (Swiss state or province) Basel-Landschaft (Baselland), which is traditionally considered a ‘half-canton’ alongside its urban counterpart Basel-Stadt, where the country’s first cannabis trial Weed Care is set to be launched.
However, the Grashaus project is set to be significantly bigger than Weed Care, with up to 3,950 participants able to take part, making it nearly 10 times the size.
Die erste vollkommen legale Cannabis Dispensary in Europa? Dank der Schweizer Pilotprojekte und der @SanityGroupEU bald Realität – wir haben die Zusage des Schweizer Gesundheitsamtes bekommen und starten im November: https://t.co/JKnGBf21UG pic.twitter.com/QBp68zlPWK
— Finn Age Hansel (@AgeFinn) October 25, 2023
The study is set to be led by Prof. Dr. Michael Schaub, Scientific Director of the Swiss Institute for Addiction and Health Research (ISGF), which launched the trial alongside German cannabis operator Sanity Group.
Sanity Group explained in a press release that it aimed to support the ISGF to promote cannabis research with its ‘knowledge and experience as an internationally positioned cannabis company’.
“In recent months, the company has been working intensively with regional and national authorities to get this ambitious project off the ground”, Sanity Group’s Project Manager Leonhard Friedrich said.
While Sanity Group will be providing its expertise, the study will be supplied by SwissExtract, seeing its products sold first in a dedicated property in Allschwil.
In the ‘upcoming months’, another store in the canton’s capital of Liestal will be launched, with both selling flowers, extracts, hash, edibles and vape liquids.
According to SwissExtracts, the cannabis flowers are said to range between 8 and 12 Swiss Francs depending on the THC content.
Malta issues licences for first two cannabis harm reduction associations
In August this year, Business of Cannabis reported that the head of Malta’s cannabis regulatory body, Leonid McKay, had granted the country’s first two cannabis associations licences ‘in-principle’.
Two months later and these operational licences have now officially been granted in full, two years after Malta first moved to allow the consumption and cultivation of cannabis for adult-use.
Subject to having their products approved by the Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis (ARUC), KDD Society and Ta’ Zelli will now be able to proceed with the distribution of cannabis to their members.
Speaking to local news publication Lovin’ Malta this week, KDD Society’s Kenneth Ellul explained that his organisation was ‘currently in the process of cultivation’ and had begun planting its first crop.
“Our goal is to have the distribution site fully operational by the first quarter of next year. In the meantime, we are in contact with prospective members who would be interested in joining our association when distribution operations commence.”
While more than two dozen other cannabis associations are understood to have applied for licences so far, a further four have been confirmed to have been granted licences in principle and are now in the final stages of acquiring fully fledged licences.