Italy To Consider Legalizing Marijuana
Long Story Short
On Monday, July 25, Italy’s Chamber of Deputies is scheduled to discuss the possibility of legalizing marijuana. If they choose to move forward with the idea, it could put Italy on pace to become a world leader in drug law reform.
Monday’s legislative discussion will focus on a bill that was proposed by an inter-party group of lawmakers called Inter-gruppo Parlamentare Cannabis Legale. The bill calls for dramatic changes to the country’s cannabis laws.
Here’s a rundown of what would change if the bill becomes law:
- The bill would decriminalize possession of up 15 grams of cannabis for recreational use at home.
- The bill would decriminalize possession of up to 5 grams of cannabis for recreational use outside of the home.
- People would be allowed to grow up to 5 cannabis plants for personal use.
- The government would allow the creation of cannabis clubs that could include up to 50 members.
- The Italian government would license certain companies to produce and sell cannabis.
It would still be illegal to import or export cannabis, to drive under the influence, and to use cannabis in public.
Popular Support For Legalizing Cannabis
So far there seems to be significant support for legalizing cannabis in Italy. The bill has already been signed by 294 lawmakers representing both liberal and conservative parties. And key law enforcement leaders have also given the bill their support.
“Prohibitionist policies have failed in their impossible aim to eliminate the use of drugs and have not reduced the illegal market for cannabis,” said Italian Senator Della Vedova.
“Instead, organized crime has controlled the whole chain: production, processing, and sales. By legalizing cannabis, the State would cut off substantial income from organized crime and transfer the illegal profits to the State budget.”
According to a press release published by the Drug Policy Alliance, recent surveys have found widespread support for legalizing cannabis. Those surveys found that 83% of Italian citizens think current anti-cannabis laws are inefficient. Going even further, 60% think the government should come up with alternative laws and 70% think the country should implement a model of cannabis regulation similar to Colorado’s.
A Shifting Political Scene
If Italy decides to move forward with the bill, it will become an unlikely leader in the global push to reform drug laws.
“Italy has rarely if ever provided leadership in Europe on drug policy reform,” said Drug Policy Alliance executive director Ethan Nadelmann. “Which is why this bill, if it becomes law, will be of great significance not just within Italy but regionally and even globally.”
The global cannabis scene could be in store for some big changes. There are currently 25 states in the U.S. that allow medical cannabis. And there are four states, along with Washington D.C., that allow for non-medical use.
Canada is hoping to take steps toward legalization next year. And Mexico, Chile, Germany, and a handful of other countries around the world are also taking steps that could change anti-marijuana laws.