Although the drug has been legal for medical purposes for nearly seven years, users previously had to cover the costs of their prescription pot.
Medical cannabis in Sicily is now free of charge for patients with certain conditions.
Health Chief Ruggero Razza signed a decree stating that the regional government will cover the cost of medical cannabis for patients affected by cerebral palsy, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.
Although cannabis has been legal for medical purposes for almost seven years in Sicily, medical cannabis users were previously forced to cover the costs of their prescription pot.
People with qualifying conditions require a prescription from a physician, after which they may obtain the drug from licensed pharmacies. The drugstores must obtain special permission to either import the cannabis from licensed producers outside of Italy, or from a crop produced by the Italian military.
Adult-use cannabis remains prohibited, albeit decriminalized, in the country. Although possession of the drug for non-medical purposes can result in the suspension of a passport and/or driver’s licence, as well as a potentially hefty fine, participating in the unlicensed sale of adult-use cannabis can result in jail time.
Confusingly, the country’s Supreme Court recently moved to protect the rights of Italians to grow undefined small amounts of home-grown cannabis for personal consumption.
Last month, the Italian parliament voted to legalize a very moderately potent form of adult-use cannabis with a maximum content of 0.5 per cent THC, the intoxicating compound in the cannabis plant, to be sold by tobacconists and select licensed stores.
However, the move to legalize “cannabis light” was vetoed when it reached the Italian Senate, with Senate President Maria Elisabetta Casellati declaring the act to be “inadmissible” on a technicality. “If you think this measure is so important for the majority, then propose a bill,” Casellati stated in a declaration that could not be appealed.
Last spring, a judge in Italy’s highest court ruled the sale of cannabis was to remain illegal, but that judges should have the discretion to consider the “narcotic effect” of the drug in deciding the outcome of a trial.Network.
Written by Emma Spears