Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Italy: Turin says yes to marijuana legalization

Turin’s local city assembly has called for the legalization of sale and consumption of marijuana. The local legislative body asked the city council to put pressure on both the Parliament and the government for the current set of prohibitionist norms to be abolished, in favor of a new one allowing “the production and distribution of soft drugs”.

The motion, proposed by the leftist party SEL (Left, Ecology and Freedom) passed by a very narrow majority, 15 votes against 13, with 6 abstained. The therapeutic use of marijuana is allowed by some Italian regions like Liguria, Tuscany and Veneto – Turin’s La Stampa reports – but the recreational consumption is still a taboo.

In that, Turin’s vote is groundbreaking: many other big Italian cities are ready to follow the same path and have asked to receive the documentation from the Piedmont’s capital. But by the same token, it leaves the legal framework substantially unchanged. Any modification of the laws regulating soft drugs’ consumption will be decided in Rome.

Even if the anti-prohibitionist tide is rising, few believe change is possible any time soon. The issue is too sensitive, and the narrow majority with which the motion was passed is revealing. Even the center-left Democratic Party, leading the ruling coalition, yesterday split in two and its leader, the mayor Piero Fassino, abstained from voting.