The Irish government has recalled a batch of Dutch CBD oil after tests discovered that it contains illegal THC levels.
Cannabis and hemp oil is legal for sale in Ireland provided the THC content remains below 0.2%, meaning users cannot get high from it. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland polices the industry and it has recalled 10ml bottles of EUPHORIA CBD Full Spectrum Oil extra strong 20% for breaching regulations.
Distributors have been forced to withdraw the affected bottles, while retailers were asked to strip their shelves of the products and inform their customers about the presence of THC in the oils.
Cannabis remains an extremely contentious issue in Ireland. It legalized medicinal cannabis back in 2016, but the vast majority of patients have far been unable to secure it as the government dithered over appointing a supplier. A group of doctors has vehemently opposed marijuana legalization.
However, Minister of Health Simon Harris has now signed legislation that ushers in a five-year pilot scheme called the Medical Cannabis Access Programme.
“The purpose of this Programme is to facilitate compassionate access to cannabis for medical reasons, where conventional treatment has failed,” he said, branding it an important milestone for the country.
The pilot scheme will permit doctors to prescribe medical cannabis for conditions like Multiple Sclerosis, epilepsy and sickness associated with chemotherapy. Patients can take their prescriptions to pharmacies to receive cannabis, just like any other medicine.
The Irish government is now in the process of building up an inventory of marijuana products, and Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY) has just shipped its first delivery of cannabis oil there.
It pledged to offer its “full suite of medical cannabis products” once permitted. It added that it has worked with Irish regulators to provide insights on the implementation of a regime that allows for “reasonable and safe access to medical cannabis for patients in need”.
Yet Tilray has not been as successful in exporting to Italy.
The Italian Ministry of Defence opened a two-week tender process last month following an unexpected production shortage at its facility in Florence. Four international companies bid for the opportunity to supply the market, including Tilray and Canopy, but it selected rival Canadian firm Aurora Cannabis (NYSE: ACB) as the sole winner.
It said in a note that Tilray Portugal missed a deadline and submitted incorrect paperwork, killing its chances of success.
Only Aurora Deutschland could prove its ability to meet the shortfall and adhere to strict criteria. The Italian government will pay it €569,000 (US$638,000) for 400 kg of cannabis.
Cannabis has also been a contentious issue in Italy this summer. Non-medical marijuana with a THC content of less than 0.2% has been sold at so-called “cannabis light” shops across the country for several years, but deputy president and interior minister Matteo Salvini then branded cannabis “a national emergency” and launched a clampdown on shops selling these low-THC products.
It sparked a major political row between the different members of the coalition government, and on May 30 Italy’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, ruled that “cannabis light” could no longer be sold.
However, local news reports suggest that business owners are fighting back. The owner of a store called Green Planet in Caserta apparently chained himself to the fence around his locked shop this month after a raid in which police seized 16g of low-THC cannabis.
The issue looks set to rumble on, but the country’s medicinal marijuana market – one of the top three in Europe, along with Germany and the Netherlands – is still going strong.