New Italian hemp board is urged to focus on research

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A newly launched hemp board in Italy should focus on innovative research as a first priority in relaunching the industry, a stakeholder association said after the inter-ministerial panel met recently for the first time.

Canapa Sativa Italia (CSI) urged the board to probe potential uses for hemp that can lead to strong standing for Italian hemp stakeholders in the international marketplace. The board is charged with drafting of guidelines for a plan aimed at bolstering the Italian hemp sector.

Working groups formed

“Italy can become a leader again, and it will be, if it does not lose the opportunity” represented by the new board, said Mattia Cusani, Secretary at CSI, which is among organizations represented on the 48-seat board. Also represented are the Italian ministries of Health, Economic Development, Interior, Defense and Environment as well as universities and agriculture and other sector organizations.

During its first meeting, the board established three working groups which will address challenges to the sector: A group to coordinate activities among Italy’s regions; one focused on “plant and machinery,” and a research group – all of which will be led by ministerial representatives.

Laws need adjusting

Canapa Sativa Italia said Italy must also adjust its laws and regulations according to a recent decision by the European Court of Justice, which ruled in a French case late last year that hemp-derived CBD should not be considered a narcotic, and that the compound should be free for trade among EU members states. That ruling also led the European Commission to reverse it’s previous position that hemp should be considered a narcotic in EU states.

Stakeholders present last week said one immediate challenge is to develop more agile and faster tools for checking hemp plant THC levels.

Italy is perennially Europe’s second biggest hemp grower behind France, and is a leading European player in growing and processing fiber, primarily for the construction industry.

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