So far, there are few countries who have taken the initiative to end marijuana prohibition – but this is a year of big changes for many as Canada has already started taking action towards having marijuana legal by next Spring and now Italy’s parliament has sat down to discuss a bill which would make marijuana cultivation, possession and use legal within their country. Current laws in Italy can be a bit severe – if you consider having personal documents, like your passport, revoked or confiscated due to possession “severe”.
The bill was proposed by Senator Benedetto Della Vedova (MP for the People of Freedom Party) and it was signed by 294 representatives. This week is the first time parliament will take a serious look at the bill and consider whether or not this is the right course of action for their government to take. Though there are a large number in favor of the bill, there are still many who disapprove (mostly members of the Roman Catholic Church and other conservative groups).
“We are absolutely opposed to this legislation, to the message it puts across: that anyone can freely smoke a spliff,” prominent NCD deputy Maurizio Lupi in a statement.
However, the aim of this bill would be to take back control on something that has gotten out of hand. It is drug cartels who end up with the billions of dollars in revenue from marijuana each and every year – not only would it be easier to regulate if it were legalized, but it would take that profit away from the black market, effectively weakening the drug lords little by little as they see their revenues drop.
“Prohibitionist policies have failed in their impossible aim to eliminate the use of drugs and have not reduced the illegal market for cannabis,” Della Vedova says in a statement. “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.”
After the initial discussion this week, the bill will be revisited in September; whether or not there will be a decision by then we will have to wait and see. If the bill does pass, it would legalize possession of up to 5 grams in public and 15 at home – as well as cultivation of up to five plants for personal use, and even cannabis clubs, which would be able to host up to 50 people for them to consume cannabis in a social setting. If Italy legalizes marijuana, they will be the first European country to have done so – which could prompt nearby countries to do the same.