Italy has been a part of a European trend of loosening marijuana and other drug related policies. It has not always been this way, however. In 2006 then president elect, Silvio Berlusconi allowed a bill that classified marijuana as a class I drug implying steeper penalties for the use of marijuana. Over the years the same problem that always rises when drug law tighten, Italian prisons swelled with inmates, most of them lower class.
The problem was so bad, with some prisons exceeding 25% over capacity, the European Court of Human Rights was forced to fine Italy 100,000 euro. The penalties for growing marijuana left victim in prison for up to 6 years, even for small amounts, and up to 20 years with larger amounts.
Luckily, the Italian government has reversed this overly harsh policy and is experiencing a strong marijuana sea of green change. The Italian government has come out saying that they are now going to grow marijuana at the state run Florence Military Chemical-Pharmaceutical Plant, for the states now 7 year old medical marijuana law.
Low Enrollment in Italy
High Times states that only 60 people have ever enrolled in the program. This probably has a lot to do with Marijuana pouring into the country from Lazarat Albania just across the Strait of Otranto and out competing the prices of the state allowed marijuana. Either that or the state I limited the spread of cards and there is only a restrictive medical marijuana system.
It’s a good path for the country with a rich history in cannabis research. In 2007, Giovanni Appendino and his team partnered with Simon Gibbons from the UK and discovered that Cannabis can be used to kill more than a dozen strains of MRSA. That same year 880,000 people became infected with MRSA in the US alone.
A State Owned Pot Monopoly?
Whether or not the state run medical marijuana facility run the entire medical marijuana market in Italy remains to be seen. This state run design would be the first of it’s kind and will undoubtedly receive a cold welcome from advocates and smokers alike.
Hopefully the Italian law will not end up like the new Pennsylvanian law, which excludes HIV/AIDS patients, those suffering from glaucoma and Chrohn’s Disease, as well as patients with chronic pain. These laws show a lack of understanding of medical marijuana and look to be the worst example of party compromises. It’s definitely a step in the right direction though.
The fight continues over whether marijuana can be used as medicine, even though so much research has proven it’s medical merit. Legalizing medical marijuana and recreational marijuana frees up prisons, creates tax revenue, and lifts a heavy burden off of the state.