Can Rome become a new Amsterdam?

Light cannabis legal in Rome
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Light marijuana becomes legal in Rome

With the arrival of Spring, taking a walk in the city is one of the most delightful and satisfying activities. If you’ve been strolling around the Eternal City, you may have noticed that a new type of store has started to appear on the streets… Fun names, green font, trendy design, and this very recognisable shape of a cannabis leaf: light weed is now legal in Italy.

Monti, Trastevere, Centro Storico, every trendy and touristic area has seen these kinds of shops grow like mushrooms in the past weeks. But before you cancel your flight to Amsterdam, let’s take a look at the situation. 

Don’t imagine to be able to smoke your blunt in the middle of the street without getting into any trouble with the police: cannabis is still illegal in Italy. If you are used to smoking for medical reasons, therapeutic weed is allowed since a few years, even the Italian army has started to grow it in 2016 near Florence! And from the beginning of 2018, light cannabis has become legal.

But light cannabis, ma che cos’è ? In fact it’s very simple. In this very famous plant, the female trees give the fruits and the leafs used for a joint, and it contains two main substances: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CNB (cannabinol). THC is the product that makes you feel high, the psychotropic one. CNB is the other side of the medal that gives you that relaxing feeling, anti-inflammatory actions and other “good” properties.

Cannabis is considered light when the THC content is less than 0.5% and the main effects are given by the CNB. And this is the legal one.

In the weed shops in Rome, the gross weed is sold as “collection goods” legal to sell and legal to smoke…inside your place. You can also find many derivative products for cooking, cosmetics, decorations, and even some manufactured goods like backpacks and tote bags made of hemp!

So the answer to the question: “can Rome become the new Amsterdam?” is: no.

This new market of “collection cannabis” is really unstable because it’s built on a loophole in the legislation. The hemp production in Italy was really important before the 1980’s and with new ecological techniques, hemp is coming back front and center stage in engineering and medicine. This reconstruction of the industrial and agricultural field opened the door to the legal light cannabis. Because of the entanglement of laws between hemp, therapeutical, light and “normal” cannabis, the market of collection cannabis is confusing, but may change and disappear really fast.

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