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Italian groups recommend rules to advance extracts sector

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Italian hemp stakeholder groups have issued detailed recommendations for the production of hemp extracts they hope will lead to clear regulations and give producers a better chance in international markets.

“The activities of Italian companies in this sector are hampered by overly restrictive interpretations by some administrations, starting with the Ministries of Agriculture and Health, which continue to consider any extract from the flower as ‘narcotic’ even with the lowest level of THC,” the groups said in a press release.

Looking to overcome those problems, the guidelines address CBD extracts, terpenes, flavonoids and other non-narcotic cannabinoids destined for domestic and international markets. The recently issued recommendations were drafted in the context of certified European hemp varieties grown in compliance with EU rules and Italy’s industrial hemp law, the groups said.

Strong coalition

Italian hemp association Federcanapa, and Agrinsieme, which comprises four leading Italian farmer associations, worked together to develop the recommendations. Agrinsieme represents more than two thirds of Italian farms, 60% of agricultural production value, 60% of the national cultivated area, more than 800,000 workers.

Italy and other EU member states must clarify rules for hemp extracts after major developments over the past year. In November 2020, the European Court of Justice ruled in a French case that hemp extracts and the CBD they contain are not narcotic drugs. That ruling also led the European Commission to reverse its previous position that hemp should be considered a narcotic in EU states.

The 36-page Italian document on extracts aims to set a path to safe production throughout the growing and processing supply chain, the groups said.

‘Once and for all’

“We will urge the Parliament to define, once and for all, the rules that will allow Italian operators to compete on equal terms in the international market,” the groups said.

Agrinsieme is made up of the professional organizations Cia-Agricoltori Italiani, Confagricoltura, Copagri and cooperatives Confcooperative FedAgriPesca, Legacoop Agroalimentare and Agci Agrital, which are in turn united under the Alleanza Cooperative Italiane – Settore Agroalimentare.

One consortium, Bio Hemp Farming, is already authorized to produce CBD for the pharmaceutical industry under a special government decree.

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