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In the beginning it was Uruguay and Canada in the world that legalized recreational cannabis. The president of Uruguay signed the law in December 2013 by which he allowed its possession, consumption and sale for residents. In 2018 arrived in Canada too.

Today many countries are starting tolegalize cannabis, especially in Europe.

In fact, Europe and United States are the places in the world where the laws are gradually easing up. Merit also goes to the organized referendums that governments did not oppose.

InItaly, the current situation is still very hazy. Cannabis has been legalized in all respects, thus also in use, only as far as therapeutic cannabis is concerned. Recreational use, on the contrary, still represents an administrative offense and is therefore liable to a fine.

The situation is better in other European countries like Netherland, where cannabis can be regularly sold inside coffee shops or Spain, where it is possible to consume weed at home.

Even though cannabis is still illegal in many countries, legalization semms to be at the gates of a good part of Europe. Also because even World Health Organization declared that CBD is a safe natural substance. Very different, however, is the situation for Asia and Africa.

We are in fact on a very particular ground, in which every state applies its own laws. We can say: “When in Rome do as the Romans do“. Let’s see at what point cannabis legalization in Italy is.

The status of cannabis legalization in Italy

As we said, the situation in Italy is vague, at best. Reference poin, at the moment, is the law number 242/2016 which represented what in the Bel Paese was the turning point for cannabis legalization.

Sadly though, this law ties the hands to the producers that must move on tiptoe. It has allowed the commercialization of cannabis sativa but only in certain areas such as foodstuffs, creams and cosmetics, semi-finished products, materials for green building, extracts for phyto-purification directed at reclaiming polluted sites, floriculture, and materials for educational activities.

And only if the THC content, therefore the psychoactive substance content, isless than 0,5%.

Instead, what aboutuse? About that, there is more confusion than ever.

In our country, to this day, is allowed theuse of medical cannabis, that can be purchased only at the pharmacy by prescription and only by those who suffer from particular diseases.

As for other products, they can be purchased for technical use, as room scenters or for collectibles. But producers and consumers are truly convinced of the potential of cannabis, and something has already begun to move.

The referendum for legalization in Italy 2022

In 2021, the Legal Cannabis Referendum, an online mobilization with signature collection to reform cannabis laws in Italy. The referendum wanted to eliminate the crime of cultivation of drugs, remove cannabis-related prison sentences, and delete the administrative penalty with driver’s license withdrawal.

More than six hundred thousand signatures were collected, however, the referendum was declared inadmissible because the first question referred to narcotic substances and not cannabis specifically, touching on points in the Consolidated Narcotics Act. In fact, drugs include hard drugs that the government does not want to legalize. There was a heated diatribe on the issue between those who argued that the question was fair and those who did not.

In conclusion, the committee that promoted the referendum does not give up because it believes that the Council’s decision was vitiated by an error about the interpretation of drugs and international obligations. He thus decided to initiate an appeal to try to overturn the decision.

The reason for legalizing cannabis

Cannabis legalization, first of all, can reduce the black market. Indeed, there are millions who turn to street dealers to get what the government denies them, and this endangers their health. Legalizing the product would take the market and profit away from organized crime and make both purchase and use safer.

Secondly, it would allow all those suffering from conditions not serious enough to obtain a medical certificate to still access a remedy that has been used in medicine since 3,000 BC.

Many traditional drugs treat diseases but, on the other hand, they also create heavy contraindications that may even prove more harmful than the ailment they go to treat. For this reason, many patients are on the move towards natural cures because nature offers all that the body needs to stay healthy. But such restrictive laws force them into illegal home cultivation, with the risk of incurring even steep penalties if they are caught.

Thus, current policies appear to have failed with regard to cultivation and consumption; they have only increased the number of people affected by administrative and criminal penalties, causing prison overcrowding.

Why it is difficult to obtain legalization

There is no common front regarding cannabis legalization because each force has taken its own position, which is often in total disagreement with the others. It is therefore a constant research for compromise.

On the other hand, cannabis legalization has been a battle since 1970s. In ’76 there was the first breakthrough when one of Europe’s prohibition laws was changed and those who used soft drugs were no longer punished.

In the early 1990s the situation became very contentious again when Craxi reintroduced the offense, which was subsequently eliminated a few years later with regard to possession of substances for personal use.

In the early 2000s a tightening returns with the Fini-Giovanardi law against the production, trade, possession and use of drugs, without any distinction between hard and soft drugs.

In 2016 was approved the law number 242 of which we have spoken before that introduced the so-called cannabis light for the first time, so that variant with a THC content extremely low.

The Supreme Court has also ruled on the issue several times, giving slight concessions especially in the domestic sphere. In short, the situation is at the very least controversial and this is the reason why is very hard to reach a solution that satisfies all.

The Cannabis Act and the example of Canada

Canada became a worldwide example on the matter of cannabis legalization with the law c-45, also known as Cannabis Act.

To propose the legalization was the Liberal Party in 2012 for the launch of Justin Trudeau, who then became Prime Minister after three years. The draft law has been approved in november 2017 by the House of Commons and in june 2018 by the Senate. When it became effective, the law made Canada the second country in the world after Uruguay to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.

On the one hand, the Cannabis Act regulates the cultivation, sale and use of cannabis, while on the other hand it addresses penalties for offenses, especially sale to minors and abuse while driving. In fact, only those over 18 years of age, that is, those who have reached the age of 18 or 19 years depending on the legislation of their province, may buy, possess or use cannabis up to a maximum of 30 grams.

This law is designed to protect the health and safety of citizens, and especially to protect young people and take power away from organized crime. Cannabis considered legal is that which is controlled and tested for contamination, that which contains particular levels of THC and CBD, and for which producers can be held accountable if there is a problem about quality or safety.

Canada is therefore an example for the rest of the world because on the one hand it has conceded, but always putting the protection of citizens first. This is what is hoped to happen in Italy as well, sooner or later.

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