The cross between politics and cannabis in Italy is narrow and revolves mainly around the focus of the legalisation of the substance within our country. This term refers here to the consumption and sale of marijuana without the risk of incurring financial or prison sentences of any kind. To date, this is (still) an unlikely scenario, since, although the therapeutic properties and beneficial effects of hemp Sativa are now recognised in many respects, we are far from likely to be legalised within a short period.  This is despite the undoubted benefits that would be obtained through the regular sale and use of cannabis. Firstly, the substance marketed would certainly be of higher quality when compared to that market, completely illegally, by organised crime.

Legalisation in Italy the latest news.

In Italy, Law 242 of 2016 grants permission to grow and sell cannabis with a THC content of less than 0.6%. However, cannabis cannot be sold or purchased for recreational purposes. Those who do so are forced to pay an administrative penalty, with the withdrawal of their driving licence and passport in case of reoffending. This law is full of loopholes, and there has long been political debate in Italy about the need to change and update it in order to keep pacing with the times.

Therefore, in Italy cannabis can only be sold and purchased for therapeutic or industrial use. So that, in Italy, the legalisation of this substance is far from coming. Even if many people are pushing for the state to put an end to the prohibition of hemp and to decide to regulate a sector. The companies involved in that sector are increasing more and more, especially in the absence of a precise legal framework to regulate the situation. In Italy, there would be talk about legalising soft drugs since cannabis has an astonishing effect, but not comparable to that of substances such as cocaine or heroin. In any case, it would be legal marijuana, to be used for therapeutic purposes.

Difficultness on the way of legalisation.

In any case, the close interweaving of politics and cannabis in Italy makes the path to legalization enormously more tortuous and prevents clear positions in this regard. Regulation is, however, an urgent matter. Since, as has been said, companies that produce legal hemp are constantly increasing and the (expanding) sector is pressing for the recruitment of new workers. That fact that there are active supply chains used in the production of cosmetics, food and other cannabis products, which after sold in dedicated shops. This is a phenomenon that can therefore no longer be ignored, and which pushes us to keep constantly informed about the news on legalization there.

The prohibition of hemp in Italy and other countries.

In Italy, cannabis is currently illegal, as well as in the rest of Europe (except for the Netherlands) and in most of the world. However, since 1996, a kind of battle against prohibition has begun, with increasing pushes towards the legalization of marijuana. And as result, Colombia deciding precisely in favour of legalisation in that year. To date, there are 31 American states in which cannabis is permitted for therapeutic purposes, and here too, in Europe, the situation is evolving and it seems that they are all more in favour of legalisation.

It is necessary, however, to make a distinction between marijuana understood as an amazing substance (however illegal) from “light” cannabis, the one with low THC content. Which is used precisely in the industrial field or for healing purposes for the numerous and very interesting properties that this plant has shown to have in an increasing way.

Legalisation is Benefit or harmful?

In Italy, legalisation would be the best choice to guarantee good quality products sold in a legal way. Thus taking this sector away from the unhealthy circuit of organised crime. The state coffers would also very benefit from the legalisation of marijuana. Not to mention that numerous resources (police, controls, repression of wrongdoing) could be more usefully used to prosecute “heavy” and more serious crimes. The country’s economy and productive fabric would also benefit enormously the cannabis sector, which, as we have said, is growing rapidly, would create jobs and new opportunities for many young people.

Although many fear that the legalisation of cannabis could lead to an increase in the use of hard drugs, this is not the case. On the contrary, since the main use of cannabis would be therapeutic, taking the substance could instead bring numerous benefits to the health of those who take it, as well as the safety of taking high-quality substances.

Legalisation in Italy when?

All that remains is to ask, when, then, is the legalisation of cannabis in Italy? The answer is not the simplest, precisely because of the close union between politics and cannabis in Italy. Here the subject, like many others, has taken on connotations closely related to politics, so the decision on whether or not to legalise marijuana has become a topic of “hot” debate. And, as such, ready to warm minds, which on this point almost always fail to reach an agreement because they clash on issues of principle.

Who is against, who is for?

So if Salvini speaks of a “drug-dealing state”, M5S senator Lello Ciampolillo proposes to legalise the cultivation of cannabis “for personal use”. The PD itself, in 2019, had presented three legislative proposals in favour of the legalisation of cannabis in Italy. In December 2020, the #megliolegale campaign began, putting together institutions and citizens in favour of legalisation. Almost twenty Members then took part in civil disobedience initiatives such as #IoColtivo, together with private citizens, in order to promote the self-cultivation of the plant. We shall see, in the coming months, how the situation develops.