What do the parties say about the legalization of cannabis

What do the parties say about the legalization of cannabis

The legalization of soft drugs such as cannabis has always been an issue that has polarized politics in Italy. On the left, he pushes to legalize; right, he pushes himself to prevent it. And this election campaign ahead of the September 25th vote is no exception.

Where are we?

In Italy, the legislative framework that regulates the consumption and trade of illicit substances adopts a punitive system, which starts from the Iervolino-Vassalli law, of 1990. This bill provided that drugs were defined on the basis of their effects, but on the basis of the fact that they were contained in one of two lists periodically updated by the Ministry of Health. The first list included hard drugs, the second soft drugs. Cannabis derivatives, namely hashish and marijuana, were included in the latter list. For the trade in both categories, a prison sentence was envisaged, longer in the case of hard drugs. For consumption, an administrative penalty was instead envisaged.

With the 2038 bill, dating back to 2006 and going down in history as the Fini-Giovanardi law, the distinction between soft and hard drugs had been canceled, and all the substances had been included in the same table, resulting in an exacerbation of penalties. In 2014, the Constitutional Court defined the Fini-Giovanardi law "unconstitutional", not for the content, but for the way it was approved, given that it was included in a provision that dealt with various matters.

Since 2014, the main legislation on drugs is the Lorenzin decree, according to which the substance tables published by the Ministry of Health are five, based on the danger attributed to the substance. Cannabis and derivatives are included in the second table. The penalties for the trade and consumption of these substances are lower than in the past, but they still exist. There have been several attempts to decriminalize drugs - most recently the 2021 referendum deemed inadmissible by the Constitutional Court - for the moment without any evidence. Let's see what the parties say on the subject:

Who doesn't talk about it Who is in favor Who is against The Constitutional Court also rejected the referendum on cannabis As for euthanasia, even in the case of the referendum on cannabis, the the judges of the Consulta found that the question was not acceptable at the constitutional level

Who does not speak of it

There is no explicit mention of the theme in the joint program of Action and Italia Viva, led respectively by Carlo Calenda and Matteo Renzi. However, Calenda has in the past argued that legalizing "would allow the control of an out-of-control situation", implying a favorable position.

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The issue is not explicitly mentioned even in the electoral program of the Brothers of Italy. The party led by Giorgia Meloni - in the section dedicated to young people - limits itself to defining drugs as one of the "juvenile deviations" that must be countered by promoting healthy lifestyles "to combat unease". In the past, however, the party leader has expressed herself several times on the issue. In a 2019 post on Facebook, Meloni wrote “drugs are rampant and produce death but nobody talks about it. Stop wasting time! We must act immediately. " In 2015, again on Facebook, the leader of the Brothers of Italy shared a video from 1989 in which judge Paolo Borsellino declares that liberalizing drugs to combat illegal trafficking "is for amateurs in criminology". The video is accompanied by the caption "to those who claim that legalizing drugs is used to fight the mafia I remember the words of Paolo Borsellino". Consequently, even if the issue is not explicitly mentioned in the electoral program, the party's position is quite clearly against legalization.

The electoral programs of Italexit and Forza Italia, led respectively by Gianluigi Paragone and Silvio Berlusconi.

Who is in favor

The electoral program that is most spent in favor of the legalization of cannabis is undoubtedly that of Possibile, the movement led by Giuseppe Civati. “Cannabis affects more than 5 million consumers, many of them long-term, who use it very consciously and not dangerous for society”, is what is stated in the text. Consequently, in the party's vision, legalizing cannabis "is the first step towards a change of general perspective on how our country deals with the issue of drugs and addictions, a change that must pass through the decriminalization of all substances". Portugal is cited as an example, which decriminalized the use of all drugs in 2001, with excellent results: according to a 2017 report from the Institute of Labor Economics, decriminalization "contributed to a drop in the number of heroin seizures and cocaine, a decrease in the number of drug crimes and deaths and a decrease in the number of patients entering treatment ".

The Democratic Party, Più Europa, the 5 Star Movement, Unione Popolare and Sinistra Italiana-Verdi also declare explicitly in favor of the theme. The program of the party led by Enrico Letta states that "in the context of policies to combat the mafia and organized crime, we believe the time has come to legalize the self-production of cannabis for personal use and ensure that medical cannabis is effectively guaranteed to patients who need it ". The party proposes to accompany this legalization with a strengthening of "prevention and information initiatives in schools and public information to raise awareness of the risks associated with all forms of abuse and dependence".

Fa eco Più Europa . The electoral program of the party led by Emma Bonino proposes "the legalization and regulation of Cannabis, in the name of individual freedom, the fight against crime and the fight against the profits of narco-mafias, the efficiency of the judicial system, the protection of public health , freedom of access to treatment for the sick and scientific research, as well as the recovery of resources for public finances ". In particular, the idea is to approve the Magi law proposal, according to which it would be possible to grow four cannabis plants for personal use as a "first step towards a process of complete legalization".

The others are more schematic . The 5 Star Movement program speaks of "regulation of the cultivation of cannabis for personal use" as a fight against organized crime. Similarly, the Popular Union program speaks of "legalizing cannabis and soft drugs also to take away a profitable market from the mafias", and the joint program of the Italian Left and the Greens speaks of "a law that legally regulates the production, distribution and sale of cannabis for the adults ". The latter, however, go into less detail.

Who's against

The only flat no comes from the League led by Matteo Salvini. The liberalization of cannabis is called a threat to minors and the proposals to implement it are called "ideological attacks". The party's position is further clarified in the “no cannabis” section on page 74 of the program. There are two points. The first is the “stop to any proposal for liberalization or legalization of drugs, regardless of the false distinction between light and heavy”. The second is the establishment of "Awareness campaigns for minors and their parents on the dangers of the 'drug culture' with particular attention to the consequences on the cognitive development of young people deriving from the habitual use of cannabis".

During the election campaign, party leader Matteo Salvini repeatedly reiterated his position on the issue, explicitly attacking parties in favor of legalization. Emblematic in this sense is the slogan "drug is death" often used by Salvini in the course of his communication.

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