Last week, Italian lawmakers presented proposals aimed at regulating Italy’s booming low-THC cannabis industry. Dubbed “cannabis light,” Italy’s industry is now home to multitudes of retail outlets selling cannabis with low levels of THC. Although legislators didn’t initially set out to legalize recreational cannabis, a measure meant to legalize industrial hemp, a type of cannabis that has little to no THC, opened a loophole that allowed the cannabis light sector to take root.
The government is now working to regulate the sector. On June 20, 2023, Italian Prime Minister Gorgia Meloni proposed amending tobacco legislation and extending it to cover low-THC hemp flower as well. Meloni’s proposal would have laid out a tax framework for low-THC hemp and created an authorization system via the Customs and Monopolies Agency (DM).
However, a day after the recently instated prime minister tabled the proposed amendment, the government withdrew the proposal. Industry sources and local media still believe that lawmakers will soon reintroduce the proposed amendments in another bill.
The tax framework created by the proposal would tax the sale of cannabis-light products at 56.5%, the same rate as tobacco. Local marijuana industry association Canapa Sativa Italia notes that this high level of taxation would hamper the development of Italy’s hemp industry. The proposal would also limit places that could sell cannabis-light products to tobacconists with a specialized license. These authorized tobacconists would have to use “authorized tax warehouses” under “supervisory measures,” the proposal stated.
Tax warehouses are buildings in Italy where businesses can store and process imported and domestic products without paying any VAT with the guarantee that the goods will not be sold in the warehouse. Such warehouses keep goods in free circulation and allow businesses to pick up goods without having to go through time-consuming formalities.
Some industry players fear that while these measures will provide a regulatory framework for Italy’s cannabis light industry, they will penalize artisanal producers and small businesses that have been in the game for years. Smaller businesses would have an especially hard time managing tax warehouses and ensuring product quality while in these warehouses.
According to industry association Canapa Sativa Italia, the proposed measures would lead to the growth of a new black market because illicit sellers wouldn’t be subjected to high taxes or strict operating requirements. And major cannabis states such as California have proved that it can be extremely hard to compete with a cannabis black market once it has taken root.
Implementing effective strategies to contain the black market isn’t only beneficial to enterprises that directly deal in marijuana. Others, such as Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX), may also see an uptick in business if all industry players are adhering to the same rules or standards.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/ACTX
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