A store has opened in the Italian city of Milan selling cannabis clones. A first of its kind in Italy, the shop exploits a legal loophole that may make the selling of live cannabis plants possible in other European countries.
The Hemp Embassy, which opened in June, sells a variety of young cannabis plants including around fifty different indica, sativa and hybrid varieties, according to an article in Dope Magazine, with many strains coming from well-known seed banks such as Amsterdam-based DNA Genetics, Cali Connection and Crockett Family Farms.
The law in Italy does technically allow the growing of cannabis as long as the THC level does not surpass 0.6%. This is so that cannabis can be grown for industrial purposes – what is otherwise known as hemp.
The plants that are for sale to the public in The Hemp Embassy, priced at €25 ($28) each, will indeed produce much higher levels of psychoactive THC than the 0.6 limitation – if left to flower that is. While in their vegetative stage, however, THC is likely to only be existent in trace amounts.
The Hemp Embassy has, so far, not encountered any interference from local authorities or police.
This legal loophole that The Hemp Embassy is exploiting may be replicable in other European countries where there are similar (however, usually lower) THC limits on their ‘hemp’ industries. In the UK, for example, there is a 0.2% THC limit for industrial hemp.
There may be some obstacles to overcome before we see more cannabis clone shops popping up in Europe, though. The fact that EU hemp growers can only cultivate cannabis from EU-certified seeds is one of the most obvious.
There is much confusion over this current law at the moment, however. As an EU country, this law should mean that The Hemp Embassy is operating outside the law as the strains it sells are not EU-certified.
We also recently reported on the first CBD-rich hemp buds to be sold in the UK, which, it appears, are also not from EU-certified seeds, judging by their high cannabinoid content and with names like Purple Haze.
Perhaps this is a sign that European governments are relaxing regulations surrounding low-THC cannabis. The CBD industry is undoubtedly growing at a rapid rate and an abundance of scientific literature is making it hard for authorities to deny its therapeutic uses and safety. The UK government has already classed CBD as a medicine and, more recently, the FDA acknowledged it potential benefits.
Whether a change in the law (or a tightening of the laws) is on its way remains to be seen. What is clear is that the European cannabis industry is a completely novel space full of creative, ever-adapting entrepreneurs and innovators. And it’s here to stay.[Featured image credit- Pixabay]