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Accepted Paper:

A law and its politico-economic aftermath. Conflicts, actors and scales in the regulation of Cannabis sativa L. in Italy  
Davide Cacchioni (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Marseille)

Paper short abstract:

In 2016 a law proposed a general regulation for hemp production in Italy. While the law did not legalise cannabis psychotropic use, it was used to legitimise a new "cannabis light" market. The paper explores the social aftermath of the law, moving between different actors and scales of analysis.

Paper long abstract:

At the end of 2016 a national law (242/2016) proposed a general regulation for the cultivation and transformation of Cannabis sativa L. in Italy. The law mentioned several uses of hemp, a plant that had disappeared for decades in the Italian countryside, but it did not open to the legalisation of its psychotropic components, disappointing the anti-prohibitionist movement who had sought the legalisation of the whole plant.

The new law was used however in order to legitimise the opening of a new "cannabis light" market, based on a non-psychotropic cannabinoid, CBD. Inflorescences and extracts below the psychotropic threshold were proposed to consumers and new cannabis shops spread throughout the country. Prohibitionists and anti-prohibitionists debated the legality of this new market. What did the law permit and what not?

The paper will delve into the mix of entrepreneurial intuition and political strategy that characterised the first attempts to open a commercial path to cannabis normalisation, challenging the limits or expanding the content of a law. Bridging anthropology of policies and law, it will interpret the Italian cannabis regulation as a policy arena resulting from the conflictual relationship between different actors around the regulatory space opened by the Law 242. It will situate the Law 242, as a policy instrument, within a broader social landscape, following different scales of action, moral stances and economic perspectives of certain social actors, from the national entrepreneur to a small growers association in Northern Italy.

Panel P156b
On public policies, lives, and social spaces: anthropological perspectives from the Mediterranean [Mediterraneanist Network (MedNet)]
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -