Legislative elections in Italy and prospects for the legalization of cannabis

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In Italy, cannabis use is a well-established habit. Cannabis is the most widely used illegal substance in the country, with around 9.8% of Italians using it, or 6.1 million people.

If citizens’ initiatives to legalize exist, showing popular support very quickly stopped by the Constitutional Court, the substantive debate on the legalization of cannabis has never really started in Italy, despite the fact that the National Anti-Mafia Directorate has expressed in favor of legalization.

On the medical cannabis side, patients are facing shortages of medical cannabis, mostly imported. The Italian army is today the only domestic producer, and fails to meet demand, even though the licensing mechanism is in place to authorize other companies to produce.

The next legislative elections in Italy, caused by the fall of the Draghi government at the end of July, will determine the course of Italian politics in the coming years. Overview of the different Italian parties and their vision on cannabis.

On the right, maintaining the status quo

Some members of right-wing parties have timidly begun to reconsider their positions, particularly on medical cannabis. The party leaders, however, remain clearly opposed to any change.

For Silvio Berlusconi, “legalizing cannabis by transforming drug use into a socially accepted and acceptable behavior seems to me a serious error, cultural rather than legal. Drugs, even light drugs, are the opposite of freedom, and I add to this the dignity of the person”.

Matteo Salvini, of the Northern League, had declared war on light cannabis stores. declares for his part: “I am personally against! I would be for the legalization and regulation of prostitution, because until proven otherwise, sex does not hurt, cannabis does. And if doctors say it’s for healing… For God’s sake, but absolutely not for entertainment! “.

Giorgia Meloni, figurehead of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, is on the same line: “Fratelli d’Italia voted against the bill on the cultivation and administration of cannabis for therapeutic use because that the contours of the law are so unclear that there is a risk, in essence, of a disguised legalization of this substance for recreational purposes”.

More opening on the left

In the last 3 legislatures, the legalization argument has been embraced by several parties, including the Radicals, the 5 Star Movement, the Democratic Party (PD) and others mainly on the left.

Among the proponents of legalization in the forefront we find +Europa which, in its electoral program, writes: “We promote strategies for the legalization and regulation of the use of drugs with a view to reducing the harmful effects of personal consumption, name of individual freedom, the fight against crime and the fight against the profits of narco-mafias, the protection of public health, free access to treatment and freedom of research on the medical use and science of these substances.

Other parties, such as Possible and Potere al Popolo, but also Verdi and Sinistra Italiana, support the legalization of cannabis in their programs and the creation of real supply chains from the point of view of industrial hemp to revive the Italian economy. Enrico Letta, secretary of the PD, said: “As part of the policies against the mafia and organized crime, we believe that the time has come to legalize the self-production of cannabis for personal use and ensure that cannabis medical treatment is effectively guaranteed to patients who need it”.

And finally, the M5S , which presented its program entitled “On the bright side”, included cannabis by planning a reform that aims to regulate the cultivation of cannabis for personal use.

Could a future government formed by an anti-prohibitionist majority really lead to a change wanted by the majority of the people? Will Italy join the initiative taken by Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Malta which, last July, met to discuss the legalization of the recreational use of cannabis? What if, instead, a majority of prohibitionists were elected?

Questions that time will answer.

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