Italy set to decriminalise cultivation of cannabis plants for personal use

Backers say rule change necessary for therapeutic users of drug

Tom Batchelor
Thursday 09 September 2021 16:23 BST

Related video: Consultant neurologist Professor Michael Barnes insists medical cannabis ‘is much safer’ than street cannabis

Italy is to decriminalise the growing of cannabis plants at home for personal use.

The measure, adopted by the country’s Lower House's justice committee, approves the cultivation of up to four cannabis plants.

Backers of the law change say it is necessary to allow people to grow cannabis for therapeutic and medicinal uses.

“The cultivation of hemp at home is essential for patients who must make therapeutic use of it and who often do not find it available, as well as to combat the [street] sale [of the drug] and the consequent criminal behaviour,” Mario Perantoni, of the Five Star Movement, said.

Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera reported that the move was opposed by centre-right politicians but gained backing from enough factions to see it pass.

The deputies will have a short period in which to adopt amendments to the law before voting on it.

In 2019, Italy’s Supreme Court ruled that growing small quantities of cannabis at home for private usage was legal.

The farming and selling of marijuana was barred under legislation dating back to the 1990s, but contradictory court decisions since then have generated uncertainty around the law.

The court declared the crime of growing narcotic drugs should exclude “small amounts grown domestically for the exclusive use of the grower”.

It sparked calls for further legalisation from cannabis advocates and fury from conservatives.

Legislation from 2016 allowed cannabis with a psychotropic active ingredient (THC) level below 0.6 per cent to be sold in legal shops. The change in the law led to a boom in trade.

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