An Italian Supreme Court ruling has legalized small scale cannabis cultivation and personal use. Cannabis had been legal to some extent in Italy since a 2016 law was adopted by parliament, yet this new ruling clarifies terms of the law. Italy’s Court of Cassation has decided that the crime of growing cannabis should exclude “small amounts grown domestically for the exclusive use of the grower”.
A 2008 Supreme Court ruling declared the cultivation of cannabis plants to be illegal, regardless of wether or not the plants were to be used for personal or commercial use. This new legislation maintains that cannabis cultivation is illegal, but states that no law has been broken if the cultivation is only for personal use.
This ruling was decided on December 19 of 2019, but has only become public information over the last few days, after a debate in parliament. Many conservative politicians and institutions are against this new legislation.
“Drugs cause harm, we remain against growing or selling in stores,” former Minister of the Interior and Deputy Prime Minister of the Lega, Matteo Salvini, stated in response to the new ruling.
The Livatino Study Centre, a conservative institution refers to the new legislation as an “alarming disassociation from reality”. The center cites research which claims that cannabis is the drug most widely used amongst Italian youth, but fails to reference its medicinal properties.
Politicians remain divided in this issue, with governing coalition party, The Five Star Movement largely in favor of the changes. “The court has opened the way, now it’s up to us,” says senator Matteo Mantero. Mantero himself recently presented an amendment to the Italian 2020 budget which would allow for the legalisation and regulation of domestic cannabis use. It was ruled unacceptable by the senate speaker from the conservative Forza Italia party.
Legal cannabis shops currently operate across Italy, selling “cannabis light” strains, after 2016 legislation allowed cannabis with a psychotropic active ingredient level below 0.6 percent to be sold in shops.
While the Italian supreme court sets a precedent for other parts of the government, every court in Italy is not expected to follow the guidelines established by this latest ruling.