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Italy’s cannabis prohibition debate continues

Italy’s Assembly has begun discussing a bill that seeks to decriminalise the domestic cultivation of up to four cannabis plants.

In September last year, reform recommendations were put forward that would see Italian residents able to cultivate up to four cannabis plants in their own homes for personal use. The proposals aim to stop people from using illicit drug dealers and would increase penalties for cannabis trafficking and dealing crimes.

The reform contained three legislative proposals including the regulation of domestic cultivation, domestic cultivation not constituting a crime, and increasing penalties for production, possession and sale and was put forward by MP Riccardo Magi. It received the green light from Italy’s Supreme Court in 2019, however, was not passed until September 2021. 

Read more: Why has Italy’s cannabis referendum been blocked?

Additionally, in 2021, a campaign for the decriminalisation of cannabis in Italy gained more than 500,000 signatures in less than a week. Despite eventually handing in 630,000 verified signatures, Italy’s Constitutional Court stated that the campaign would not trigger a referendum. 

According to reports from The CannaReporter, Deputy Mario Perantoni of Italy’s 5 Star Movement and chairman of the Montecitorio Justice Commission, has suggested that legalising cannabis for personal use will save “€600m euros a year in unnecessary legal costs”.

Read more: Italy passes decree that could put CBD farmers at risk of jail

According to The CannaReporter, Perantoni, called the beginning of the debate a historic day for Italy, stating: “Currently, out of a prison population of 54,184 people, 18,884 are detained for violations of the drug law, of which 1/3 are drug addicts: staggering numbers that prove the failure of repression. 

“The law [on the legalisation of cannabis] will save 600 million euros a year in unnecessary legal costs, but above all it will make a wide therapeutic use possible and help to eradicate drug trafficking: an important objective achieved without harming the public health of no way. 

“Prohibiting the cultivation and personal use of small amounts of cannabis is a thing of the past, the legacy of an ancient and outdated culture: we would like Walter Di Benedetto, who fought so hard, to be here today to hear us and our affectionate thoughts and thanks.”

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