Recently, a major bill introduced to the Italian senate fully legalizing recreational cannabis has received support from both parties, and is currently making strong progress towards becoming law.
According to an article for International Business Times, a motion was signed a few weeks ago to legalize cannabis across Italy. Senator Benedetto Della Vedova is behind the bill, and so far has the backing of 60 other politicians. Della Vedova has ties to the Radical Party in Italy, which has been trying since the 1970s to make cannabis legalization a reality in Italy.
“It is a bipartisan proposition from members of the parliament of different political backgrounds,” Della Vedova told reporters in regard to his proposed legislations. “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.”
Della Vedova also pointed out that this law is being introduced, "in view of the failure of prohibitionism,” and that the bill will be "pragmatic” and “ non-ideological,” meaning that the use of legal cannabis will still be regulated, and steered far away from control by the black market. “Repressive action has totally failed," he also stated during his talks with the press. He went on to reference the millions of dollars that the legal states in America have raised, and used that as further reasoning that his bill should be approved.
While the bill has yet to become a law, Della Vedova and his supporters feel confident that that will in fact happen. Italy has already decriminalized cannabis, although they still do not have recreational or medical marijuana available anywhere in the state. The only crime that is currently punishable by serious jail time is growing the plant; everything else just incurs a fee or at worst a suspension of driver’s license or passport.
All of Europe tends to slowly be moving in the direction of legalization, but so far it has been a process with some setbacks. The Czech Republic has approved some medical use, and as well as France, but citizens of both areas still have a hard time figuring out these new laws and obtaining the plant for medical use. So far, the Netherlands is still the only place where recreational cannabis is sold across all of Europe.
This time last year, Italy moved to keep marijuana out of the same category with heroin and cocaine, in order to keep those whose only crime is possessing cannabis out of prisons. Shortly after that, they ruled to decriminalize the plant entirely.
In addition to all of this, Turin, a city in northwestern Italy, has moved to allow medical cannabis within city limits. While this will still not completely allow free access to everyone, it will not be much easier to access here than anywhere else in Italy, as this is the first city to move forward with any such proposal.
“This is … a move from a prohibitionist structure to one where soft drugs, particularly cannabis, are legally produced and distributed,” said the Turin city council in their statement to the Italian Parliament, justifying this new legalization.
“We want to put an end to the political prohibition, which has only served to give illegal traffickers hundreds of billions of euros, and thousands of citizens a criminal record,” reported Marco Grimaldi, the Democratic Socialist who proposed the law.
This new ruling is exciting because if it passes, Italy will become the only other place in Europe besides the Netherlands to have fully legal marijuana. This will surely bring in a new boom of tourism and entrepreneurship, and bring in all kinds of revenue for the country. Let us hope we witness this new bill becoming law very soon in the Italian senate.