Italy is on course to be one of the first countries in Europe to decriminalise cannabis for adult recreational use.
What The New Laws Mean for Cannabis Use in Italy
The change in the law is a result of a historic vote from MPs. The new legislation will also allow for people to grow up to 4 cannabis plants within their home for personal use. The cannabis reform was approved by Italy’s Lower House’s justice committee on the 8th of September 2021 after being submitted for consideration by Italian MP Riccardo Magi. The legal ability to grow cannabis plants within your own home is tremendous progress for the plant.
What is The Situation Across Europe?
Italy now joins Spain and the Czech Republic in allowing the cultivation of cannabis plants in private residencies. Personal recreational use of cannabis and home cultivation will now be allowed, the legislation will also increase the penalties for dealing and trafficking cannabis from six to ten years. A ground-breaking decision from Italy’s Supreme Court ruled that small scale domestic cultivation was legal. The result of this was an assessment of cannabis use and further liberalisation of those advocating for the legalisation of cannabis and those opposed to new reforms.
Only a select few European countries have decriminalised the recreational use of cannabis and if these new reforms prove successful, it is inevitable that other countries will follow. Legislators in Luxembourg announced plans to legalise adult use of cannabis in 2019. The legal cannabis market was originally scheduled to launch towards the end of 2021. However, there have been numerous disruptions primarily caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which has led to extensive delays. In 2001 the possession and use of cannabis were decriminalised in Luxembourg.
There have been cannabis pilot schemes announced in the Netherlands, Switzerland & France to examine the implications of legalising cannabis for recreational use. Despite the notorious coffee shops of Amsterdam and an industry that has been thriving for decades, recreational cannabis remains illegal in the Netherlands. The possession and consumption of minute amounts of cannabis was decriminalised in 1973 and has been tolerated ever since. The cultivation of the cannabis plant remains outlawed which often causes legal confusion, as the laws can be easily misinterpreted.
How About The UK?
In the UK, the use, supply, possession, and cultivation of cannabis remains prohibited, with the exception of companies that have licences to produce medical cannabis products. Reforms such as the one occurring in Italy, should increase the scrutiny on the UK’s regulation of cannabis and open a debate into the logic of criminalising a plant with such medicinal promise.