The regional government of Sicily will now pay for medical cannabis for some patients.
Sicilian health official Ruggero Razza has signed a decree to give the drug free-of-charge to people affected by chronic pain, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis, reports Italian news agency ANSA.
Medical cannabis has been legal across Italy since 2013, but patients were mostly required to pay for prescriptions.
Patients must have a doctor’s prescription and medical cannabis can only be obtained from a licensed pharmacy.
Pharmacies must have permission to buy it from a supply grown by the Italian army or import it from regulated growers abroad.
Growing or selling marijuana for recreational use remains illegal.
Earlier this month confusion swept across Italy when the nation’s Supreme Court ruled that growing cannabis for personal consumption is now legal – a direct contradiction to a law that was introduced in the 1990s.
The landmark ruling came after a case involving an Italian man who was being prosecuted for having two cannabis plants in his home, although he was eventually found not guilty by the judge as “growing small amounts of cannabis domestically for the exclusive use of the grower” is no longer illegal.
This case is one of many involving small-scale cultivation of cannabis, which has left a sense of bewilderment among the public who are still in the dark over how many plants can be grown legally.
Italy’s parliament attempted to shed light on the legal grey area by voting for a motion that would have seen tobacconists become eligible to sell a weaker form of cannabis, but this was eventually denied by the Italian Senate earlier this month.