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Italy starts debate on legalizing cannabis for personal use, including self-cultivation

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Photo: DR | Dr. banz

The national debate on the cultivation, sale and consumption of cannabis and its derivatives for personal use began in the Assembly of the Italian Republic. Deputy Mario Perantoni, from the M5S (5 Star Movement) party and chairman of the Montecitorio Justice Commission, said that “prohibiting the cultivation and personal use of small amounts of cannabis is a thing of the past” and that legalization “will save 600 million euros a year in unnecessary legal costs”.

“The beginning of the debate in the Assembly on the Bill that decriminalizes the domestic cultivation of up to four cannabis plants represents a historic day for our country, which is still anchored in the old and failed repressive policies against drugs”, Perantoni began.

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the cultivation and personal use of small amounts of cannabis is a thing of the past, the legacy of an ancient and outdated culture: we would like Walter Di Benedetto, who fought so hard, to be here today to hear us and our affectionate thoughts and thanks,” added Perantoni.

The Bill aims to change the current regulation of cannabis use for personal use and, despite having undergone some changes during the discussion process in the Commission, it had the support of the centre-left and M5S, having been opposed by the parties Italian Forza, fdl e Alloy. Among the novelties added to the proposal is the possession and cultivation by adults and for personal use of up to four cannabis plants. In addition, at the beginning of each academic year, in primary and secondary schools, a national day on the harm caused by alcoholism, smoking and the use of narcotic and psychotropic substances is planned.

The cultivation and possession for personal use of no more than 4 cannabis plants, intended for the production of substances and products obtained from them, are permitted for persons of legal age.

In the proposal, some penalties and sanctions are increased while others are relaxed. Unless the act constitutes a more serious crime, whoever commits one of the acts provided for in the law that, “owing to the means, modes or circumstances of action or owing to the quantity of substances, whether it is of lesser importance”, will be punished with a prison sentence that can range from 6 months to 4 years and a fine of up to €10.000, when the possession and trafficking involve hard drugs; and imprisonment from 2 months to 2 years with a fine of up to €2.000, when the arrest and trafficking involve soft drugs.

It is also considered an administrative offense to abandon syringes and/or other dangerous instruments that are used for the consumption of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, which may pose a risk to the safety of others.

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