Italian Parliament Moves Towards Marijuana Legalization

In a bill that Italian Parliament may be close to passing, citizens who are eighteen or older will be allowed to grow up to five plants for themselves, have up to fifteen grams in their place of residence and posses a maximum of five grams on their person.

Senator Benedetto Della Vedova, MP for the People of Freedom Party, organized senators and representatives from both sides of the political spectrum to draft the proposal. It was signed by 294 representatives, or 1/3 of Parliament. The proposal had bipartisan support; coming from both liberal and conservative parties. According to Westword, the bill is being supported in an ongoing effort to fight organized crime.

In a statement by Benedetto Della Vedova, he says: “Prohibitionist policies have failed in their impossible aim to eliminate the use of drugs and have not reduced the illegal market for cannabis. 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.”

The government would sell Marijuana cultivation licenses and apply a 5% tax. The taxed money would then be used in fighting organized crime and drug trafficking in Italy.

Not only does the proposed bill have bipartisan support, but the citizens are behind it as well. The Drug Policy Alliance, an organization that fights the war on drugs, issued a press release backing up the claim.

“According to a recent survey by IPSOS Public Affairs, 60% of Italian citizens agree that the country’s parliament should consider policy alternatives to the current prohibition regime, and 83% think that the current laws prohibiting marijuana consumption are inefficient. Furthermore, over 70% of Italians believe that the country should seek to implement a model of marijuana regulation similar to that of Colorado.”

The DPA spokesperson also writes about how important Marijuana legalization in Italy would be in initiating a reform throughout Europe. “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.”

The DPA says the proposal expected to be debated in Italy’s Chamber of Deputies on Monday, July 25.

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