Medical Marijuana in Italy

Updated on December 28, 2018.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Italy is one of the many countries that’s easing its laws for medical cannabis. Since 2013, the nation has allowed patients to access medical marijuana for several conditions, giving them the opportunity to treat their symptoms with a natural, effective medicine.

Medical Marijuana Program in Italy

Like many countries that support medical cannabis, Italy has a federal medical marijuana program. This program emphasizes the cultivation of marijuana and its recommendation by physicians. Unlike most countries, Italy allows patients to purchase their medical cannabis at licensed pharmacies.

An ongoing challenge with Italy’s medical marijuana program is supply and demand. Pharmacies import medical weed from the Netherlands, which has led to prices as high as $44 per gram. In response, the government has initiated a movement to grow medical marijuana, which would then be offered at little or no cost to patients.

History of Medical Marijuana in Italy

Italy’s medical marijuana history began in 2013 with the legalization of medical cannabis. Before that, users were subject to criminal penalties, including fines. In some cases, carrying medical weed could lead to a suspension of your driver’s license or passport.

Before its legalization, Italy took an aggressive approach toward the cultivation, sale and transportation of medical marijuana. In most cases, patients faced jail time and fines that ranged from $88,000 to more than $400,000. Although medical cannabis is legal in Italy today, recreational use is not.

Telemedicine in Italy

Patients across Italy can now take advantage of telemedicine. Since the early 2000s, providers of the necessary infrastructure for telemedicine have been working to build a comprehensive network throughout the country so every patient — whether they’re in a rural or metropolitan area — can speak with a knowledgeable physician.

Possession and Cultivation of Medical Marijuana in Italy

The Italian government prohibits the cultivation of medical marijuana. In fact, the country’s military oversees its production of medical cannabis, which takes place at the Institute of Pharmaceuticals in Florence, Italy. Patients may carry medical weed on their person, though they must have their prescription on hand.

Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana in Italy

Several conditions qualify for medical marijuana in Italy, including:

For some of these symptoms, like nausea, they must result from chemotherapy, radiation treatments or HIV/AIDS. Doctors can only write prescriptions if past medication has been ineffective for the patient.

Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Italy

Instead of a medical marijuana card, Italy uses prescriptions. Approved physicians can write prescriptions for patients who qualify for medical cannabis, and patients can then have their prescription filled at a licensed pharmacy. Prescriptions can be for either edible or smokeable forms of medicinal weed.

Facts About Medical Marijuana in Italy

Some facts about medical marijuana in Italy include:

  • The military cultivates 100 different varieties of cannabis plants.
  • The country’s imported medical weed comes from The Cannabis Bureau, which delivers more than 220 pounds of medical marijuana each year to countries across Europe and Scandinavia.
  • Italy’s in-house production of medical cannabis is expected to reduce prices by 30 percent for patients.

Medical Marijuana Penalties in Italy

Medical marijuana penalties in Italy center on its cultivation and sale. Patients who grow their own marijuana could face jail time or fines, along with patients who try to sell their medical cannabis prescription to someone else.

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Resources for Medical Marijuana Patients in Italy