Europe: Italy Takes a Giant Step Backward 2/10/06

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!


https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle-old/422/backward.shtml

The Italian parliament Monday voted final approval for a new drug law that reimposes sanctions for marijuana smokers and erases the distinction between "soft" and "hard" drug users. The law could subject pot smokers to loss of their drivers' licenses and passports, as well as involuntary drug treatment. As DRCNet reported last week, the bill calls for prison sentences of six to 20 years for drug offenses, including possession, although people caught in possession of very small quantities of drugs -- the amount is yet to be determined -- would not face jail time.

bad guy: Italian prime minister
Silvio Berlusconi
With the Chamber of Deputies approving the bill Monday, a week after the Italian Senate shoved in through as part of a measure related to security for this month's Olympic Games in Turin, the only action it awaits is approval from the Italian presidency, a largely ceremonial position whose occupant rarely vetoes any law.

Early indications are that the government will try to set thresholds so low (a fifth of a gram of heroin, half a gram of cocaine) that many drug consumers will find themselves facing harsh prison sentences. Similarly, marijuana users could find themselves labeled "drug addicts" and forced into treatment over small quantities of the weed. The bill will also allow private drug treatment clinics to certify users as "addicts," an ability previously limited to the government. And tourists caught with a single joint or Ecstasy tablet could have their passports seized.

"We are very satisfied with this law and will provide the completing tables as soon as possible in order to immediately profit from its positive effects," said Minister for Parliamentary Relations Carlo Giovanardi. "No restrictive penal sanctions for consumers, they'll only have to face administrative sanctions. Therefore all the controversy on imprisonment is absolutely unfounded. Obviously there are severe measures for drug dealers."

The argument that the law could send small-time drug possessors to prison is false, Giovanardi said. "That is an enormous lie. Joint-smokers risk that their families are alerted by the police chief. It begins with a joint but we know that there are many young people in rehabilitation centres who started with a joint and ended up consuming cocaine and heroin."

But Giovanardi is getting ahead of himself. The quantities that determine personal use levels have not been set, and small-time drug users could still face prison.

Italy's drug laws were relaxed in 1993, and this turn around was engineered by post-fascist politician Gianfranco Fini, a key lieutenant in the rightist government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. With Italy facing elections this spring, opposition politicians are vowing that undoing the new law will be one of their first acts if they win power.

Italian anti-prohibitionists weren't waiting for elections to signal their displeasure. More than 200 people gathered in front of parliament for a protest smoke-in and to urge President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi not to sign them into law. But there is no indication he will heed that request.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #422 -- 2/10/06

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!

Editorial: I Was Almost on TV Last Week | Feature: Federal Drug Budget Continues Modest Downward Trend, but Strategy Promises Same Old Same Old | Feature: States, Colleges Block Financial Aid to Students with Drug Convictions Even When They Don't Have To, DRCNet-sponsored Study Finds | Feature: With Australia in the Grip of Reefer Madness, New South Wales Moves to Severely Punish the Dreaded "Hydro" | Europe: Italy Takes a Giant Step Backward | Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Medical Marijuana: California County Drops Federal Lawsuit, Will Seek to Overturn Compassionate Use Act in State Court | Harm Reduction: Pediatricians Back Needle Exchange Programs | Chronic Pain: Florida Pain Patient Appeals Drug Trafficking Sentence Amidst Media Glare | In Memoriam: Al Lewis Dead at 82 -- Best Known as "Grandpa Munster," Actor Was Also Activist and Drug Law Reformer | Web Scan: New LEAP Video, Reason on Bush's Drug Warriors, Afghan Farmers in London, Conservatives Attacked Over Soros Link, Humanists Resolution | Weekly: This Week in History | Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar


This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]