Self-cultivation of cannabis is (still) not a crime for the Italian Supreme Court

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In a decision that upholds a previous verdict, Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation again ruled that home cultivation of a small number of Cannabis plants for personal use does not constitute a crime.

This decision follows the appeal filed by a man accused of possession of narcotics while growing a few cannabis plants in his garden for his own use. The Naples Court of Appeal had already partially revised the initial judgment and acquitted the accused.

In 2019, the supreme body of the Court had already decided, in another case, that “the smallest cultivation activities carried out at home, which, by rudimentary techniques, the small number of plants, the very small quantity of products obtainable, the absence of other indicators of their inclusion in the drug market, appear to be intended exclusively for the personal use of the producer are not a crime. »

In other words, if a home cultivation is for personal use only and does not affect public order or health, the cultivation of small amounts of cannabis is legal. The Court of Cassation is however not the Parliament. If the first can suggest how to interpret a law, only the second has the power to modify it.

Until Italian law is changed, more and more trials will end in acquittal, creating a wedge between parliament and the courts.

Change in approach to self-cultivation of cannabis

In the verdict rendered on February 24 and reported by cannareporterthe judges noted that the defendant was “merely” a regular cannabis user and there was no evidence that his future harvest was intended for sale or distribution to third parties.

Furthermore, the cultivation used only rudimentary techniques, which resulted in the production of a limited number of plants and a negligible amount of cannabis.

By applying these criteria, the court confirmed the harmlessness of the defendant’s behavior. They acknowledged that the cannabis found was for personal use only, with no indication of intent to sell or distribute the product.

The ruling has been welcomed by drug policy reform advocates, who see it as a step towards a more rational, evidence-based approach to drug laws.

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