The Italian Government has passed a law that will double the amount of cannabis a person can possess without penalty. When the law comes into effect, Italians will be able to have around 40 joints in their possession for personal use, or one gram of the active ingredient of marijuana.
Health Minister Livia Turco says this is just part of a major overhaul of existing drug laws: “I intervened so thousands of young people will not have to go to jail or suffer a criminal proceeding for smoking a joint,” she said. “This will not liberalise 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.”
Previous laws punish offenders with arrest and imprisonment for possessing half a gram of cannabis. The government’s centre right opposition has condemned the review. Critics say raising the limit to 40 joints has no scientific basis. They say it sends a wrong signal to young people and opens the door to hard drugs. The law will come into effect over the next few weeks.