International Hemp Legalization:

Changing Attitudes Towards CBD, D8, D9 & D10

The world has come a long way since the 1960s, when cannabis was a recreational drug used by long-haired hippies and turtleneck-wearing beatniks. Now, countries around the world are starting to embrace cannabis not only for its mood-enhancing psychotropic properties, but also for its medicinal and therapeutic value. 

An increasing number of countries around the world are starting to get onboard, including dark horses like Switzerland and Italy. Below, we take a look at how international legalization of hemp is changing around the world. 


More liberal-minded than many of its European neighbors, Italy isn’t exactly peppered with dispensaries, but it hasn’t completely criminalized cannabis and hemp. The nation is currently enjoying an ongoing love affair with cannabis light, a hemp-derived product with less than 0.6% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. 

Italians love the stuff, with a study published in the Journal of Health Economics suggesting sales soared when the cannabis light was legalized in 2017. Even better, sales for sedatives and anti-anxiety pills dropped, suggesting Italians were embracing hemp-derived cannabis as a new form of wellness medication. If the concept sounds familiar, you’re on the right track. Cannabis light has followed a similar path to American hemp-derived products like Delta-8, which have been legalized in most states thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill that decriminalized hemp and its derivatives. 

International Hemp Legalization Italy Items
Cocoa & Hemp? That's Italian!


While Switzerland isn’t exactly on the same page as Canada or Oregon when it comes to legalized marijuana, the European country is a discreet champion of cannabis and International Hemp Legalization. For starters, it has decriminalized possession of cannabis with THC content of 1% or less. While it’s still a relatively small amount, it’s significantly more than the 0.2% THC approved by most European countries. You won’t be hauled to the police station, but you will be issues a fine. Medical marijuana is also gaining traction, with many Swiss citizens legally obtaining medicinal cannabis via GP prescriptions. Could hemp-derived cannabis soon be added to Switzerland’s chocolate and cheese hall of fame? We certainly hope so. 


In 2018 Brits were treated to the legalization of medicinal cannabis with a prescription, a big step forward for the conservative country. The British cannabidiol market is now worth a huge £1 billion, with cannabis-derived products like Epidiolex and Sativex becoming a staple in medicine cabinets across the country. Though despite increasing awareness surrounding the medicinal properties of THC, the cannabinoid remains illegal in the UK. All cannabis products sold must be manufactured from EU-grown hemp containing less than 1mg THC per packet. International Hemp Legalization in the UK is definitely emerging.


Spain adheres to laws enforced by the European Union, which allow sales of hemp-derived CBD and other products if they contain less than 0.2% THC. More than 25 strains have been legalized for industrial hemp production, all with low levels of THC. Licenses to grow cannabis for medical or scientific purposes are notoriously hard to secure, meaning the Spanish have quite a lot of difficulty getting their hands on products like CBD and Delta-8. 

Australia & International Hemp Legalization

Despite Australia’s laidback reputation, the country only allows over-the-counter, GP-approved sales of hemp-derived CBD products. THC is also strictly regulated, with concentration levels ranging from 0.35% to 1% depending on the state. Under Australia’s Poisons Standard legislation, “any cannabinoids, other than CBD, must be only those naturally found in cannabis and total 2% or less of the cannabinoid content of the preparation.” Amazingly, Canberra has the most laissez-faire attitude of all the states, allowing people to posses up to 50 grams of cannabis as well as grow up to two plants. 

Understanding the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs

From human right to criminal justice, the UN is an incredible organization that works tirelessly to maintain peace and foster friendly relations between countries around the world. While its treaties and conventions are hugely beneficial, they’re not always without fault, as illustrated by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Designed to “prohibit production and supply of specific drugs”, the convention places cannabis in the same illicit category as opium. 

“This Convention aims to combat drug abuse by coordinated international action. There are two forms of intervention and control that work together. First, it seeks to limit the possession, use, trade in, distribution, import, export, manufacture and production of drugs exclusively to medical and scientific purposes. Second, it combats drug trafficking through international cooperation to deter and discourage drug traffickers,”

reads the UN website. 

International Hemp Legalization- Time for change?

When Canada legalized marijuana in 2018 the decision technically breached the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, but this didn’t stop the Trudeau government from approving the bill. Seeing progressive, first-world nations like Canada blatantly flouting the convention proves that the international pact is outdated and in need of review, at least when it comes to cannabis. 

Even the president of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) himself has questioned the outdated laws, hinting it could be time for a review of International Hemp Legalization.

“We have some fundamental issues around the conventions that state parties will need to start looking at,” admitted INCB President Cornelis P. de Joncheere in an interview with Marijuana Business Daily. “We have to recognize that the conventions were drawn up 50 and 60 years ago.” He went on to add that 2021 could be “an appropriate time to look at whether those are still fit for purpose, or whether we need new alternative instruments and approaches to deal with these problems.”

While there’s definitely still progress to be made, the buzz surrounding the legalization of cannabis and hemp-derived products is getting louder. It’s incredibly exciting to see countries like Switzerland and Italy starting to shift their attitudes towards cannabis, shun taboos and make it easier to enjoy the therapeutic properties of botanicals.  

In the meantime, congratulations if you live in the United States. It’s never been easier to get your hands on hemp flower, as well as other hemp-derived goodies like edibles, extracts, CBD balms and even moon rocks. While we love “golden oldies” like Maui Wowie and Acapulco Gold, we’ve got some tasty new strains for you to try so head over to the store and stock up while they’re fresh.