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Italy expected to decriminalize cannabis next year: What you need to know

Picture Courtesy: UKCSC

Italy is expected to hold a referendum to decriminalize cannabis next year after the campaign groups in the country managed to secure the required 500,000 signatures in a week.

In Italy, referendums can be called if 500,000 signatures are obtained. There was a deadline set for the campaign groups to attain that number by Sept 30th. If the referendum is successful, the sale and cultivation of the drug will all become legal under Italian law.

The campaign released a statement on Facebook saying, “More than 500,000 online signatures in just a week for the #ReferendumCannabis. We celebrate them by thanking you one by one because this is a first and not just in Italy.”

Currently, if someone is involved in buying, selling, and mass cultivating the herb, that person can face 10 years in prison. However, consumption of cannabis is not criminalized under Italian law for medical purposes is permitted.

The campaign groups said that legalizing cannabis ‘would generate thousands of new jobs and increase tax revenues for the state, putting the approximate value at 7 billion euros or $8.2 billion.

Italy initially decriminalized cannabis consumption back in 1993, however, the decision was reversed in 2006. Some of the other European nations like the UK and France still continue to criminalize the recreational use of cannabis.

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