According to Felice Romani, a spokesperson for SIULP (Sindacato Italiano Unitario Lavoratori Polizia – or roughly translated to the Italian Police Workers Union), legalization would make cannabis safer by allowing for the monitoring of chemicals and pollutants. Romani says that legalization would also help combat widespread crime associated with cannabis black market.
By Gabriel Samuels, The Independent
In September 2014, the country’s government announced the army would help increase the production of medical marijuana, with the first secure growing facility unveiled in Florence in April last year.
It is hoped the sterile chamber will produce up to 100kg of cannabis every year, strictly for use by cancer patients, multiple sclerosis sufferers and those with other medical conditions which could be alleviated by the drug.
By Sara Manisera, Slate.com
The road into Taranto is dotted with 100-year-old olive trees and low stone houses. The town, in the region of Puglia, is in the heel of the boot-shaped Italian peninsula. “The city between the two seas” straddles the southern Mediterranean, known as the Mar Grande, and a small inlet known as the Mar Piccolo. The air has a heavy metallic scent.
At the edge of town is a farm that has been known, since the 1800s, for its traditional cheeses. People came from all over to buy dairy products handmade in ancient, wood-fired terracotta furnaces. Those days are long gone, owner Vincenzo Fornaro explains, as he stands in a field surrounded by chest-high cannabis plants.
Italy’s Chamber of Deputies will debate a bill to legalize recreational cannabis on Monday, July 25th. Specifically, the measure would legalize the possession of up to 15 grams of cannabis, and the personal cultivation of up to 5 plants; cannabis clubs and retail outlets would also be allowed.
“[T]his bill, if it becomes law, will be of great significance not just within Italy but regionally and even globally”, says Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “With five more U.S. states preparing to vote on marijuana legalization on November 8, and Canada poised to legalize marijuana next year, Italy could well provide the catalyst that Europe needs to move forward in ending marijuana prohibition.”
218 members of Italy’s parliament have signed on to a measure to legalize recreational cannabis which was given approval yesterday by the Intergrupo Parlamentare Cannabis Legale, a cross-party committee of lawmakers. The proposal now goes to Italy’s full 945 member parliament for consideration.
If approved into law, the measure would allow adults in Italy to possess and cultivate cannabis for recreational purposes, while legalizing cannabis retail outlets, and cannabis social clubs where up to 50 people can cultivate the plant as a group.
“The aim of this operation is to make available to a growing number of patients a medical product which isn’t always readily available on the market, at a much better price for the user,” Colonel Antonio Medica told the Italian website Corriere della Sera. “We’re aiming to lower the price to under 15 euros, maybe even around 5 euros per gram”.
By Phillip Smith, StoptheDrugWar.org
An effort to legalize marijuana is getting underway in the Italian parliament, with some 60 lawmakers having signed onto a motion to do just that by the time it was rolled-out three weeks ago. Now, the “all party” group is getting to work on the twin tasks of drafting an actual legalization bill and getting it enacted into law.
The effort is being led by Sen. Benedetto Della Vedova, who is also Italy’s undersecretary of state for foreign affairs. Della Vedova was a long-time member of the country’s Nonviolent Radical Party, but was elected to parliament as a member of the centrist Scelta Civica.
“It is a bipartisan proposition from members of the parliament of different political backgrounds.” says Senator Benedetto Della Vedova, a Parliamentary undersecretary in the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs. “This shows that even in Italy a pragmatic approach, based on a rigorous cost / benefit analysis, is now increasingly popular in the political and cultural debate, not only outside but also inside the Parliament.”
The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Defense have reached an agreement that will put the military in charge of operations to cultivate cannabis and to produce cannabis-based medicines, according to the Italian newspaper La Stampa.
According to the agreement, a military pharmaceutical plant in Florence that currently produces drugs for Italy’s armed forces, as well as other products for the market including cosmetics and spirits, is where the cannabis will be grown under strict-control.
Italy’s constitutional court on Wednesday struck down a controversial drug law – approved in 2006 – that tripled sentences for selling, cultivating or possessing cannabis, making the penalty equivalent to “hard drugs” such as cocaine and heroin.
The constitutional court said the law was “illegitimate”, without going into further details.
According to Reuters, this new ruling could set free as many as 10,000 inmates who were imprisoned due to the nation’s harsh cannabis policies.