Italian parliament votes to legalize 'cannabis light'

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Italian parliament votes to legalize 'cannabis light'
Growing and selling 'cannabis light' will be officially legal from January 1st. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Italy's parliament voted to legalize the production and sale of a weaker form of cannabis this week, ending months of uncertainty for farmers and sellers.


UPDATE: Parliament's decision has been blocked by the Italian senate.

Parliament voted to allow tobacconists and specialized shops to stock cannabis products, which must not contain more than 0.5 percent of the psychoactive compound THC.

Parliament approved the amendment overnight on Thursday after a long-running row pitching former interior minister Matteo Salvini against small business owners and the agriculture lobby.

Populist leader Salvini had vowed to close all shops selling so-called cannabis light.

Italy's agriculture association Coldiretti welcomed parliament's move, noting that the area under cannabis production in Italy had grown from 400 hectares in 2013 to 4,000 hectares last year.

READ ALSO: Why farmers in Puglia have turned to cannabis

Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

"It's the end of a nightmare," Luca Fiorentino, founder of cannabis supply firm Cannabidiol Distribution, told La Stampa after the parliamentary vote.

"After Salvini's witch hunt I had to fire 10 people and I lost 68 percent of my revenues."

Last May, Italy's highest court affirmed that the sale of cannabis was illegal, but gave judges discretion to consider the "narcotic effect" of the cannabis at issue when issuing decisions.


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