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Europe: Italian Government Loosens Marijuana Possession Limits

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #462)
Consequences of Prohibition

Acting on one of its springtime campaign pledges, the Italian government last week acted administratively to double the amount of marijuana one can possess without penalty. The change in the official interpretation of the law is expected to come into effect in a matter of weeks, and when it does, Italians will be able to possess roughly an ounce of marijuana for personal use.

The law actually specifies quantities of THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Until now, one could possess only one-half gram of THC, or about a half-ounce of mediocre potency marijuana. Now, Italian tokers will be able to possess up to one gram of THC. (How this will work in practice is something of a mystery. Will people be able to possess more schwag than kind bud because the schwag contains less THC? What about hash, which is widely used in Italy? Will police officers carry portable chemical assay kits to assess potency?)

"I intervened so thousands of young people will not have to go to jail or suffer a criminal proceeding for smoking a joint," said Health Minister Livia Turco in remarks reported by Reuters. "This will not liberalize drugs but prevent and deal with those who use drugs. You can only fight drugs effectively by taking on the dealers and the traffickers and making an example of them."

Turco is a member of the largest party in the government, the Left Democrats. The previous, right-leaning government of Silvio Berlusconi had moved late in its tenure to stiffen Italy's drug laws, and the new government's move to loosen the marijuana law is part of what it has announced will be a major overhaul of the drug laws.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

The case needs to be taken up by more churches, health organizations and corporations in a position to benefit economically, such as agribusiness and cigarette makers.

Decriminalization and taxation would pass any business analysis using balanced scorecard methods (weighing different economic benefits from a proposed action).

Fri, 11/24/2006 - 6:59pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

During the 1960's, a study was done by the University of Florida department of agriculture which analyzed the effects on the US economy of legalization and taxation of marijuana . The study predicted that if pot was taxed so as to maintain the current price at the time, the federal income tax could be eliminated in three years. (The study did not take into account the side benefits of reduced law enforcement costs and the lessened impact on individual lives and freedoms.)
If everyone planted their seeds, law enforcement would be a moot point.

Sat, 11/25/2006 - 7:19pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Marijuana is a gift from god to suffering humanity. Consider its benefits---relief of pain, stress, and anger, fostering cooperation over competition (bringing people together), relief from insomnia, less alcohol-induced domestic violence---it's a crime to criminalize pot users or suppliers. The true crime is not this harmless activity but the incarceration (ruin of lives) inflicted on hundreds of thousands of perfectly good citizens who have their own reasons for not using alcohol. Those reasons range from not wanting to turn ugly, violent, or obnoxious under the influence of booze, alcoholism, diabetes, liver damage from pregnancy and/or hepatitis, etc.

It is only the cowardice and self-interest of US politicians that keeps these absurd laws on the books, destroying lives and families in the process. I think that Boomers might actually bestir themselves if the above reasons were emphasized. Marijuana, if not exploited for corporate profit/taxes, would be a FREE gift from god.

Thu, 12/07/2006 - 4:04pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

If everyone planted their seeds, law enforcement WOULD be a moot point. so many of us see that, yet we still allow ourselves to be persecuted. with all the press coverage in nevada and colorado on the recent attempts to decriminalize it all comes down to one reason alone. we didn't get out to vote. if only 2/3 of the tokers voted, the measures would pass through by a tidal wave (keep in mind a lot of non smokers were still supportive and did vote). if half voted we would stilll have won, and would now be moving on to other states to begin proceedings there.

instead we all hid and smoked this past thanksgiving weekend.

can't blame the executioner when the sheep line up voluntarily to be slaughtered.

Mon, 11/27/2006 - 12:18pm Permalink

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