IT: Italian government's favorable stance on decriminalization upsets conservative parties of the coalition

The Italian government has finally taken a stance on cannabis and has stated the necessity to encourage decriminalization. 

In the "Annual Report to Parliament on the phenomenon of drug addiction in Italy" by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers - Department for Drug Policies, indications that emerged during the sixth National Conference on Addictions are reported. We are on page 516 of the report, and point 4 indicates the need to "encourage decriminalization, understood as the need to review the laws that give criminal and administrative sanctions against people who use drugs."

The government is not limited to this but specifies the path to follow: "Review the current law passing from the repressive model to a model of governance and social regulation of the phenomenon and remove some illegal conduct from criminal action, reviewing, at the same time, the sanctioning system and excluding the obligatory nature of the arrest."

Yet, those five lines of text in an over 550-page dossier were enough to create a new political case that jeopardized the majority. While the Parliament is clashing over the proposed law on cannabis - supported by the Democratic Party, Leu, + Europe, and the 5-star Movement and strongly opposed by the center-right parties - the government barged into the discussion finally taking a position for the first time clear on the topic.

Personally, prime minister Mario Draghi never wanted to express his position. On Thursday, 30 June, during the press conference following the CDM, to a question about cannabis and other policies, he replied that "the government does not take a position", because "it does not comment on proposals coming from parliamentary initiatives. On these - he added - the government has never taken a position, but I am sure that these parliamentary positions do not carry any risk for the government".

The report on drug addiction, however, changes the context. "It is the Italian government itself that has submitted to the Parliament the need to change the law in a way similar to the law currently under discussion in the Chamber," comments Riccardo Magi, president of + Europa and first signatory of the proposal of the law on home cultivation of cannabis. "All the commotion from the right-wing parties in the government coalition doesn't really make sense, since it's the same government taking that stance, not only part of it," replies Magi.


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