Italy's constitutional court today struck down a 2006 law that removed the distinction between "soft" and "hard" drugs, treating pot possession like heroin possession. Thousands of prisoners will go free.
The Giovanardi-Fini law had been passed in 2006 by the rightist government of Silvio Berlusconi, pushed by reactionary social conservative and neo-fascist elements within the regime. It undid an earlier distinction between "soft" drugs like marijuana and hash and "hard" drug like heroin and cocaine, subjecting cannabis users to sentences three times longer than under the old law.
The law is reported to be the primary cause of prison overcrowding in the country, which has the worst overcrowding problem in all Europe. Prison rights groups estimate that up to 40% of Italian prisoners are doing time for drug crimes.
"The so-called drug war as conceived in North America has been lost and it's time to return to rational rules that distinguish between substances," Franco Corleone, of the human rights group Society of Reason, told Reuters.
Senator Carlo Giovanardi, arch-conservative architect of the law revealed the he is still an idiot with his reaction to the high court decision, which struck down his handiwork as "illegitimate."
The ruling was a "devastating choice from a scientific viewpoint and in the message it sends to young people that some drugs are less dangerous than others," he said, somehow missing the scientific fact that some drugs are less dangerous than others.