Italy has passed a decree that prohibits the cultivation of CBD crops without authorisation from the country’s Ministry of Health.
CBD cultivation has been legal in Italy since 2016 after a unanimous vote in parliament. However, this month the Conference of State and Regions adopted a Ministerial Decree which now prohibits the crop’s cultivation.
Farmers, which until have been allowed to grow crops containing a limit of 0.2 to 0.5 per cent THC, will only be able to cultivate hemp crops unless given authorisation from the Ministry of Health. The ruling mirrors the current law surrounding the cultivation of higher THC cannabis crops for medical purposes.
With CBD available in shops across the country, the move is one in complete contrast to the direction of the rest of Europe, bar France, which recently passed a decree banning the sale of CBD flowers to consumers.
It will also put the entirety of Italy’s CBD supply chain at risk, says president of Italy’s cannabis referendum committee ReferendumCannabis and co-founder of Associazione Luca Coscioni, Marco Perduca.
Speaking to Cannabis Wealth, Perduca commented: “This has always been in the back of the centre right’s mind.
“The Ministerial Decree which is another vehicle to make law – even if it’s more on the administrative rather than and the lawmaking level – in which they re-included plans for reducing CBD under the regular rules set by the text on all drugs.”
“This will imply for those already in the business and the newcomers, to seek a permit from the Ministry of Health, which per se will not be a problem. But why would you have to ask, or re-ask permission for a well-established enterprise, to a ministry that has nothing to do with the oils, soaps and edibles that are produced using some CBD and a very minimal percentage of THC?”
Perduca highlights a debate is set with the president of the Agriculture Committee on the matter.
“It’s an interpretation of the law. It is not opinion-makers that make interpretations of the law – it is a judge. So, if you have the police that come to your shop, or to your house or to your farm and would like to know more on what you are producing or selling, they can confiscate everything and block your activity until further notice.
“This is an additional burden on an already not-working system of justice. It is also a sort of CBD scare that has been launched against in particular shops and entrepreneurs – about 10,000 people that work in 3000 Small and Medium Enterprises which generate around €40m per year.
“It’s an important part of our agricultural economy, and it’s mainly young people that invest in these kinds of enterprises.’
Together with Leonardo Fiorentini, member of Forum Droghe, Perduca stated that the discussion of the decree took place days following the first meeting between the Ministry of Health and the country’s cannabis patient associations to discuss supply requirements.
They stated: “The version in front of the delegates risks canceling, if not sending to jail, the entire cannabis light [CBD] sector in Italy…
“The World Health Organization has repeatedly recommended the exclusion of the properties of CBD from banned substances, some of these were collected by the UN Drugs Commission which in December 2020 canceled cannabis from the IV table of the 1961 Convention with a vote favourable of Italy.
“To insert this submission of production to the rules of 309/90 with a Ministerial Decree, as well as going against common sense, is legally very questionable. Certainly, we need a regulation that clarifies what it can be cultivated and how to guarantee the quantity and quality of therapeutic cannabinoids necessary to guarantee the therapeutic plans of tens of thousands of people: products with a certain threshold of CBD must be treated as drugs, those below as supplements, as is already the case today for many other substances also in other EU states.
“We appeal to the competent Ministers to amend the Decree to art. 1 paragraph 4. If not, we will organize a coordinated response between patients and entrepreneurs to definitively send anti-scientific and ideological measures to the attic.” [translated from Google]
Cannaray to drive brand awareness following successful fundraise
Blue Array will be assisting the company in its digital campaigns.
UK CBD brand, Cannaray has appointed Blue Array to lead its PR strategy and activity for 2022.
The appointment follows the successful completion last month’s groundbreaking £10m funding round.
The round included major participants including the UK’s largest media-for-equity fund, Channel 4 Ventures – a first-of-its-kind backing in the European cannabis sector – as well as Three Bridges Private Capital and Alpha Blue Ocean.
Head of digital and communications at Cannaray, Jessica Mills, commented: “We are having a fantastic year of growth, bringing Cannaray’s CBD revolution to new consumers across the UK.
“Since appointing Blue Array to drive our SEO, they have proved to be a valuable agency partner and we are delighted to be deepening our partnership through Digital PR.
“The Blue Array team brings a huge amount of energy and passion to their approach, and we look forward to working with them moving forwards.”
Head of Digital PR at Blue Array, Jodie Harris, commented: “Cannaray CBD is an inspiring brand and has an ever-growing following.
“We are thrilled to be in partnership with Cannaray and to focus on delivering the brand’s core messaging whilst ensuring they dominate through organic search for the year ahead.
“We know this year is big for Cannaray and we are excited to be a part of the journey.”
Cannaray was the first CBD brand to invest in major brand advertising in the UK. In 2021 they began a national television and out of home campaign featuring brand ambassador and UK TV Presenter Claudia Winkleman.
Blue Array’s Digital PR arm which launched in August last year is tasked to drive awareness campaigns and educate the public about adopting CBD into their lifestyle as well as raise the brand’s visibility through media relations and product promotion.
New chief technology officer appointed at High Tide
Greg Fleury has joined the CBD company.
Greg Fleury has been appointed as chief technology officer (CFO) at High Tide.
Fleury will bring over 20 years experience to the role. Fleury will apply his knowledge of developing and managing digital operations teams, web platform design, analytics, search engine optimisation, and e-commerce in the retail, oil and gas, and utilities sectors.
President and CEOof High Tide, Raj Grover, commented: “It gives me great pleasure to announce the addition of Greg Fleury to High Tide’s executive team. Greg is an avid technological innovator with many years of experience and a track record of success.
“I plan on working closely with him over the coming months to take the digital and e-commerce components of High Tide’s integrated cannabis ecosystem to new heights.
“I would also like to thank Sean Geng for all of his efforts as High Tide’s Chief Technology Officer over the last year. Sean will remain on board with our company as a technology consultant, and I look forward to his continued contributions,” added Mr. Grover.
In Fleury’s prior role as vice president of digital and technology for Edo Japan, a Canadian fast food restaurant chain specialising in Japanese Teppan-style cooking, he led the development of that company’s ordering app, website, data warehouse, and analytics systems.
As CFO, Fleury will be responsible for leading High Tide’s global technology and digital operations, overseeing the development of digital platforms, digital commerce, security, and analytics, as well as managing High Tide’s IT infrastructure.
Fleury commented: ”I am excited to be joining a company that is as dynamic and fast-growing as High Tide is. Over the past year, High Tide has established itself as an e-commerce leader within the global cannabis space, and I was particularly drawn to the company because of this.
“I am eager to begin working to optimise High Tide’s digital platforms, building on our already-solid footing to keep us at the forefront of the cannabis sector’s technological evolution.”
The Canadian company announced in 2021 that it is making moves to enter the UK CBD market. In October, High Tide acquired Scotland-based Blessed CBD for £9.06m – a step towards solidifying itself as a major player within the global e-commerce marketplace for hemp-derived CBD products.
As part of the acquisition, Blessed’s founder and CEO, Vithurs Thiru joined the High Tide team as senior manager of research, helping grow High Tide’s CBD business globally.
Cellular Goods: Amazon’s CBD pilot is helping overcome ad restrictions
Cannabis Wealth speaks to Cellular Goods about advertising and sales restrictions and its appearance on Amazon’s new UK CBD product pilot.
Cellular Goods CEO, Anna Chokina, discusses how Amazon’s CBD pilot is helping the company overcome barriers from major online platforms when it comes to advertising and selling cannabinoid products.
The UK has a high demand for cannabinoid-based products. According to a report by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, the CBD market generated £690m in annual sales in 2021, and projects that it will reach nearly £1B by 2025.
Estimating the UK CBD market to be one of the largest in the world, the report notes that surveys from Dynata and YouGov indicate between 4 to 6 million UK adults have tried CBD.
CBD companies in the UK struggle to advertise products through usual marketing channels such as Google and other social media sites. This is a problem that does not seem to be moving, says Cellular Goods CEO, Anna Chokina, who suggests the platforms could play a more proactive role in the UK marketplace in their respective fields.
With the lack of marketing access to these platforms, Chokina highlights that the Amazon marketplace was a natural choice to host Cellular Goods’ products.
Chokina commented: “There is a considerable demand for products, yet somehow the information flow from the companies that play in this industry to the end customer is quite difficult.
“There is no lack of variety in terms of what’s available in the marketplace, but it’s very hard to understand what the products do and how they work. What is CBD, what is CBG, plant based, non-plant based, biosynthesised?
“It can be very hard to understand for the average consumer. It’s very hard as manufacturers and producers not only to sell our products but also to deliver truthful information to the customers about what the industry is and what the products do.”
Amazon approached Cellular Goods to take part in its new pilot trial of CBD products in the UK at the same time the company was discovering the limitations of Google and Meta. The eCommerce giant has already demonstrated that it is not shy about cannabis with its lobbying efforts for reform in the US having already removed cannabis testing from its pre-employment screenings, and now, its new CBD pilot is showing its support for the UK sector.
“We are quite happy to take part in this pilot because at least this way we have access to the Amazon consumer base that are searching for cannabinoid-based products,” said Chokina.
Cellular Goods will be featuring a number of its products on the platform, such as its cosmetic Look Better range which includes its new CBG face serum – the UK’s first CBG-based serum to prevent the signs of aging caused by UV light exposure and inflammation.
The company produced research on the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of cannabinoids CBG and CBD, which demonstrated the cannabinoids as contenders for other popular anti-inflammatory and anti-aging ingredients such as retinol and vitamin C serums, whilst also being much kinder for skin.
Chokina continued: “This was Cellular Goods way of ensuring that people who search for cannabinoid-based products were aware of our brand. As a startup, you have to look for ways to get your product out there, to get your name out.”
Many customers may not be aware of some of the cosmetic benefits of cannabinoids, and Chokina emphasises that customer education is key for the CBD market.
“I think consumer education is very important. I think one side effect from Meta and Google not taking a more proactive approach to allow companies to advertise freely or to trade freely on their platforms, is the fact that consumers are clueless,” said Chokina.
“They do not know the difference between CBD or CBG, they don’t know the amazing promises these ingredients can bring.
“So, we as the brand would like to become that voice that drives clarity, and hopefully, in time, the credibility will come with our name as well, that we’re only going to put the products in the market if they’re justified from the scientific standpoint.
“Science is very much who we are, so we want to make sure that what we bring is substantiated and it’s consistent as well.”
Chokina highlights that Cellular Goods has undertaken a 360-degree media campaign that includes billboards across London and Manchester, which will help drive customers to the Amazon platform as well as its own website marketplace.
Chokina said: “We have partnerships with Conde Nast with GQ with Vogue. So, there is a lot of influencer strategy involved as well.
“We’re working with bloggers and advertising, so, we have limitations on Meta and Google, but it doesn’t mean that the customers are not going to know about us. I don’t think one campaign is going to educate the market to get the customer base and get the sales growing. It’s just the start.
“We are pleased and humbled to be approached by Amazon because it’s also a sign that the industry is developing. It’s a sign that the wind is turning. So, it is definitely very positive for us. We are very much focused on our customers.
“If our customers prefer to shop, for instance, in some of the retail stores or in the pure play beauty stores, online that that’s where we would like to be because we are very much focused on making it easy for them to buy us.
“As part of our expansion to Europe and beyond, this is also going to be an integral part of our go-to market. What Amazon is doing is a sign of thriving, and I hope that the other big companies are going to follow suit and then we can advance and push the industry.”
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