Growing a little marijuana at home should not be a crime rules Italy’s Supreme Court.
Up until December 2019 both smoking and cultivating cannabis was illegal in Italy. However, in a ground-breaking and controversial move, the Italian court of Cassation called upon by the Supreme Court has overturned that ruling. This now means that in small amounts it is now legal to grow cannabis for personal use.
The farming and selling of marijuana were deemed illegal under legislation dating back to the 1990’s. However, inconsistent court decisions have proved contradictory in some cases since those laws were passed, therefore creating some uncertainty around them.
This comes after several cases were overruled or thrown out of court due to the controversy surrounding such laws.
The Supreme Court of Cassation, (corte suprema di cassadione), is the highest court of appeal in Italy. The courts purpose is to ensure the correct application of law in inferior and appeal courts. The supreme court can reject or confirm a sentence or ruling from a lower court.
The court has in some part given some clarification around the laws of the cultivation of marijuana, ruling that “growing small amounts of cannabis domestically for the exclusive use of the grower”, is no longer an offence in the country.
This comes as a welcome ruling for Matteo Mantero, a senator from the co-ruling 5-star movement. Mr. Mantero, who has long been an advocate for the legalisation of the trade, said of the ruling “the court has opened the way. Now it is up to us”.
Mr. Mantero presented an amendment to the 2020 budget, calling for the legalisation and regulation of domestic cannabis use, but it was deemed inadmissible by the senate speaker from Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative party.
The logic behind this new decision is yet to be made clear, and a thorough more extensive ruling may not be released to the public for weeks or even months.
It remains unclear if the Supreme Court’s ruling distinguished between cannabis plants that are referred to as hemp or as marijuana.
The hemp plant is mostly associated CBD (cannabidiol) oil, and typically has less than 0.3% of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This is the chemical that makes users feel high and promotes the feeling of being high. It can also produce feeling of psychosis in users.
Italy now joins the ever-growing number of European countries that have pushed to legalize cannabis, such as Luxembourg, Malta, Germany and Switzerland.
Hopefully, this will now pave the way for other countries to follow suit.