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In September 2020 the Italian Health Ministry introduced some norms which represent a step back in the availability and access to medical cannabis, that in Italy is guaranteed and covered by the National Health System for some pathologies. In October, the last step was the inclusion of CBD in the 309/90 Drug Law scheduling system, as a psychoactive drug, with serious outcomes for both medical cannabis and legal non psychoactive cannabis products.

On 23 october a civil society mobilization against this decree included a wide network of organizations and patients, and organized a hunger strike involving over 250 people. One week later, on October, 29 – also as a result of the involvement and the iniziative by some Parliamentarians – the Health Ministry suspended the decree on CBD, asking for a new scientific position by the main national health institutes (Istituto Superiore della Sanità e Consiglio Superiore della Sanità). This is also a new opportunity for civil society organizations to relaunch the dialogue with decision makers in a scientific, evidence and human rights based perspective.

For Denise Amerini, head of addiction department of CGIL ( the most important public sector professionals’ trade union) “the suspension by the Minister of Health of the decree that included CBD among the narcotic substances is an important result, to be ascribed to our mobilization. A first victory, which goes in the direction of the recent evidences of medicine and scientific research on CBD, but which, above all, makes the right to treatment due for many people suffering from often disabling diseases. “

Leonardo Fiorentini, national secretary of Forum Droghe, underlines that “the decree was illogical and unscientific, placing a substance among the drug tables despite the WHO in its recommendations to the UN asked to remove it from the conventions, precisely because it was not psychoactive. The suspension is fine, but the Minister must now cancel the decisions adopted by his own Ministry which, just in the middle of the COVID crisis, declared illegal the shipment of cannabis-based drugs to patients  and excluded the possibility of producing oils and capsules, turning back the clock of pharmaceutical science of two centuries, throwing doctors, pharmacists and patients into despair. It is necessary to open a table involving the Civil Society to try to solve too many problems related to the prescription and supply of medical cannabis in Italy”.

According to Marco Perduca, Luca Coscioni Association: “Thanks to the 250 people who in a few days have joined the relay-fast, Health Minister Speranza suspended the decree that penalized CBD-based preparations inviting the Superior Institute and Council of Health to provide scientific arguments on the matter We welcome this decisione and re-launch the appeal to join the fasting, it is necessary to insist on a dialogue based on scientific evidences. In the meantime we are compiling as much scientific literature as possible to share it with all parties involved and those who will join the nonviolent initiative. It is the first time that a hunger strike for cannabis is promoted in Italy”