Current legislation on consumption and possession of drugs
The main text on drugs was amended in 2006 without a discussion in Parliament through an emergency procedure that goes by the name of decree. It was strongly supported by the right and by the ministers Fini (ex -fascist) and Giovanardi (formerly Christian center) and added to a decree for the Winter Olympics in Turin. So, just to make the Winter Olympics and get the funding that in the meantime had finished, the decree was passed also along with rules that restricted the freedom of immigrants.
In Italy, the law equates all non-legal substances, including cannabis. Indeed, there is a single table for the non-legal substances in common use. At the same time, real media propaganda is artfully constructed to support an ideological and moral use of the media in order to convince society and families of the absolute harmfulness of cannabis even when taken only once.
Drug use is governed by art. 121 of Presidential Decree 309/90 (framework law on drugs). If caught consuming drugs one is reported to Ser.T of expertise (local service for people with an addiction) without adding any penalty. This rule reveals a subsequent foundation of the approach to the use of substances that are not legal in our country: for the law there is no difference between use, abuse and addiction.
In the event that you are caught in possession of illegal drugs, ar . 75 of Presidential Decree 309/90 is applied. This article refers to a table that sets the threshold beyond which possession of a substance becomes commercial: 250 mg of heroin, corresponding to 2.5 grams of the substance at 10% of purity, 750 mg for cocaine that is almost 4 grams to 15 %, 500 mg of cannabis, equal to 5 grams to 10% . Within the limits of the table or, if exceeded, when the court finds that there is still the intention of making business, administrative penalties are applied, decided after a meeting at the Prefecture that takes into account several factors including, primarily, the nature of the substance (light or heavy) and any recurrences. You may run into a verbal warning that invites you not to make more use of the substance or a fine that most of the time implies suspension of the driving license but also of other documents. In the case of a non-EU foreign, residence permit may be revoked. Sometimes, it is recommended to undergo a treatment program at a Ser.T. or one of the recognized private facilities . Some prefectures are awaiting the outcome of the program to decide whether to impose a sanction, others, like the rest of the law would impose, do it anyway.
The cultivation of cannabis, according to the law is an offense punishable by a term of imprisonment from 6 to 20 years (from 1 to 6 years with extenuating circumstances). Although there are judgments that linked the cultivation of a few plants to the concept of personal use, the risk is incarceration.
Cannabis Social Clubs
The discussion is open in the antiprohibitionist environment but has not yet led to concrete action. The only Cannabis Social Club opened in Italy and promoted by activists of the Radical Party, is an association of people who use cannabis. At the moment their operation does not include cultivation.
In Turin from 2004 to 2008 there was a discussion on the possibility to set up a fixing room. The idea initially had a positive opinion of the city administration, but later at the national level, there was opposition from many parties.
Main political parties for the European Elections
- PDL (People of Freedom)
- PD (Democratic Party)
- SEL (Left Ecology and Freedom)
- M5S (Five Star Movement).
What is the position of these parties on:
Drug policy reform/ harm reduction, health-based approach to drugs / decriminalisation of cannabis and/or other drugs/ Cannabis Social Clubs?
The PDL, party of the center-right, is the sponsor of the legislation and does not intend to change it.
The remaining parties have positions contrary to the current law and proposals for decriminalization of consumption based on the adoption of harm reduction policies. Some members of the SEL and M5S are in favor of legalization and regulation of cannabis cultivation. In particular in M5S positions exist in favor of CSC.
What are the two most important threats on the political and legal front?
Although in 1993 there was a referendum on the decriminalization of consumption which established the non-punishment of consumers, through sanctions on the detention of illegal substances. In reality, drug users are criminalized. In addition, the controls on the road and in the workplace tend to promote substance use as a private behavior. Drug users in Italy are stigmatized and prosecuted. Drugs at work or while driving a car become the weapons with which they are socially excluded.
What is the most promising or positive development concerning drug policy?
Now the Italian austerity policies, seen as a solution to the economic crisis, occupy the entire political discussion. However, the only real positive note is coming from a court overturning the concepts expressed by the law and indicate legal action to plea the unconstitutionality of the actual laws on drugs.
Encod contact in Italy:
Enrico Fletzer, Radio K – email@example.com