Cannabis, the process that will change history in Italy

Cannabis, the process that will change history in Italy


Is cannabis light a drug or not? On November 3, in Parma, the process opens that could clarify once and for all. Luca Marola, founder of Easyjoint, a chain of specialized stores, a great commercial success and now closed, is at the bar. To support him, a team of super-consultants. The 2016 law that reopened the doors to the sector in Italy was exploited by him and many other entrepreneurs to create a series of very fashionable businesses a few years ago, and which even now maintain a certain market; but the text leaves several questions of interpretation open, and the new government led by Giorgia Meloni has already made it clear that it does not love the subject. If Marola wins, free everyone. If he loses, he risks being a scapegoat, because he was the symbol of that season. But together with him, the entire supply chain is in the balance, which in Italy is worth up to 44 million euros a year

What the parties say about the legalization of cannabis The issue polarizes the parties. On the left there is a struggle to legalize, on the right to prevent it. In Italy, the debate has stopped after the rejection of the 2021 referendum

The “inventor” of cannabis light

Marola, a Parmesan, is a well-known name in the “cannabis light” business. More: it was he who invented the trade name that describes, with a certain approximation, a number of hemp varieties that contain extremely low amounts of Thc (tetrahydrocannabinol, responsible for the psychoactive effect). These plants, on the other hand, are rich in Cbd (cannabidiol, with a relaxing effect). Smell and taste are very similar to Bob Marley's weed, but the difference is substantial. In practice, it is a particularly fragrant chamomile.

We contact him on the eve of the trial. Why in court, and why her? "The problem is that, six years after the 2016 law that opened the doors to the sector, there is still regulatory uncertainty today - he replies to -. No one has taken care of clarifying the questions left open by the text, in particular that of the flower. And so it may happen that a prosecutor opines that, in his opinion, the hemp flower is a drug. In almost all cities she lets herself be done, but Parma has been the leader of the opposition movement: behind her, there are eleven prosecutors who are waiting to see what happens here to act accordingly. In short, we will do jurisprudence ”.

It remains to understand why to take it this way. “For two conflicting reasons: despite being widely cultivated in the past, hemp in this country is still a taboo. And the argument always works in view of the polls. Already in 2018, opposing parties turned it into a fetish during the election campaign. But it is an interested exploitation that transforms cannabis light into something else, that is, into a substance with a psychotropic effect ", says the entrepreneur. Then there are those who, like Maurizio Gasparri, adds," believe that allowing its sale it means getting the public accustomed to the fact that weed does not hurt, and thus paving the way for legalization. Although here, I repeat, there is not a shadow of a buzz. "

There is a third reason, says the entrepreneur, and it is linked to the corporations. "There is a whole supply chain, Coldiretti, the Italian Tobacconist Federation, the monopoly agency together and some big tobacco players who want to control the sector and I have crossed paths over the years. Coldiretti proposes its own closed production chain, on the model of what happens for tobacco; tobacconists that the sale goes through their shops, the Agency wants to impose excise duties and monopolies: in short, the same script that was staged at the beginning of the 1910s with electronic cigarettes, with products seized because they were declared non-compliant and then remitted on the market as they are but with the state stamp ".

The sector is in suspense: according to Marola, it would be worth about ten thousand jobs, even if over time seventy percent of specialized shops have closed, he says. "Online sales and tobacco channel resist".

The government is in favor of the decriminalization of cannabis In the annual report on drug addiction, the anti-drug policy department of the Council presidency stressed the need to favor decriminalization, review the current law and abandon the repressive model

Six years in smoke

Cornered by the prosecutor, the entrepreneur from Parma aims to win the battle in court by demonstrating the non-existence of the accusations and promises tough battle, in the courtroom and outside. “All hearings will be recorded and broadcast on Radical Radio”, he declares: “If I win, cannabis light will be legal; if I lose, they will have found the tool to end the game. There are 7,891 pages of trial papers, a thousand intercepted phone calls: like a mafia. The folder reaches my navel. I point out that, when there is certainty of guilt, we speak of a few pages. On the contrary, when there is nothing, instead, you have to write, and a lot ".

He, meanwhile, lives suspended. "If all goes well, I will relaunch with other cannabis-related activities to revitalize the entire sector, shocked by this process and by the legal uncertainty experienced so far," confides Marola. According to which “the world market is doing well, with Canada having just passed four years of legalization and is" cutting "its rules. Not only that: nineteen US states that have already legalized cannabis for any use and, with the midterm elections, another four are preparing to follow them. Furthermore, the German government has just approved guidelines for legalization in Germany, as has already happened in Luxembourg. And there, enormous business opportunities will open up ”. Which do not necessarily include smoking: at the major trade fairs, today the vape is great, along with extracts and edible products. “Half of the stands were dedicated to e-cigs”.

"Six years risk - concludes Marola -. Due to the theorem of the accusation, it will be a grotesque, stimulating and funny process at the same time. But in one way or another I will make the history of cannabis light in Italy: who will be reborn or will die with me ”.

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