Especially in light of the legacy of the former Minister of Internal Affairs, Northern League’s leader, Matteo Salvini, who, just three months ago, celebrated a Senate vote against the legalization of cannabis, in an attempt to even tackle the status quo in regards to the Italian CBD market, based off EU-certified non-psychoactive cultivars.
However, in the face of so much political adversity, there are some good news for those who in Italy consume cannabis for medical reasons. Thanks to a decree signed by the Councilman for Health, Ruggero Razza, the Sicilian Region decided to approve the budget to cover for the costs incurred by patients. The cannabis products (Including Bedrocan’s high-CBD cuitivars Bediol and Bedrolite) that the country imports for its patients are now free of charge for those suffering from chronic and neuropathic pain and spasticity from multiple sclerosis. The document defined in detail all the rules for the prescription, preparation, dispensing and reimbursement of galenic or even industrial cannabis-based preparations for medical use, like Epidiolex or Sativex.
The prescription of the drug is only permitted on the basis of a therapeutic plan with a maximum duration of six months, renewable if necessary. The only physicians allowed to prescribe the drug are those employed by regional public health agencies, or specialists in anesthesia and resuscitation, neurology and pain therapy centers. Cannabis may be prescribed for oral use (for the preparation of decoctions), for inhalation use (by means of specific vaporizers and related cartridges) and by means of oil for oral use. Training courses for doctors are already being organized and will be carried out in all the Sicilian provinces by the Italian national medical association (the Ordine dei Medici).
Gaetano D’Amico, leader of the Italian cannabis medicine patients’ committee, defined it “a big step forward”, although not fully satisfactory, given many diseases have remained outside the scope of this reform. Now the challenge is cultivation in Sicily. According to D’Amico, there are many interested realities, and also the Sicilian Agricultural Development Agency had given availability of its fields for cultivation on site for therapeutic purposes. Ruggero Razza’s policy choice on the matter of cannabinoid-based therapy represents, for the region of Sicily, the culmination of a years-long effort in favor of medical cannabis users’ rights.