Legalizzare la cannabis? O regolamentare? - terredicannabis

Legalize cannabis? Or regulatory?

The debate on the legalization of cannabis is more lively than ever: in recent years a new phase of awareness and progress has opened. The wind of change is already blowing in many countries around the world, which have chosen the path of legalization , while in others the abandonment of prohibitionism is slow to be felt. The topic is hot, just as the factions facing each other are hot.

On the one hand there are the detractors of any form of regulation, who loudly support the dangerousness of the substance and its risks; on the other hand there are those who are pro-legalization, who rely on the many scientific studies that have now clarified the great potential of cannabis in the treatment of mood disorders and chronic diseases .

Until the 1960s, cannabis in Italy was not considered a drug, indeed, it was often used to replace tobacco . Italy was the world's second largest producer of industrial hemp , preceded only by the Soviet Union, and was the main supplier of hemp-derived textile fiber to the English Navy. At the end of the 1960s, with student protests and the beat generation, cannabis became the symbol of rebellious youth and was reclassified as a narcotic substance, to stem the phenomenon and put a stop to its rampant use.

It must be said that the marijuana of the time was very different from that on the market today : the percentages of active ingredient were much lower than those present in "modern" cannabis and its effects were also much more contained.

The current situation in Italy

Currently the situation is very varied: there are countries that have completely decriminalized the possession and consumption of cannabis, others that have even liberalized its trade , there are countries where the substance is only tolerated and others where it is only administered to patients authorized for therapeutic reasons .

In 2016, Italy chose an intermediate path, legalizing light cannabis. This is cannabis sativa without THC (tolerated below 0.2%) and rich in CBD , the "good" active ingredient, responsible for the positive effects of marijuana on mood and the body. The light cannabis sold in Italy is produced on the national territory and the varieties that can be cultivated are included in the Official Catalog of the European Community , which contains 67 legal light cannabis genetics. Eight of these are Italian, and are the only ones that can be cultivated in the national territory, since law 242/2016 prohibits the importation and hybridization of light marijuana plants.

The last few weeks have been complicated on the cannabis light front. The current government is more critical of the legalization of cannabis light, especially the Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini . On May 30, the Court of Cassation definitively ruled on the tolerance threshold for the quantity of THC present in the substance sold legally. Until now it was required that the inflorescences contain THC in percentages lower than or equal to 0.2 ; the percentage of 0.6 was tolerated - for the sole purpose of protecting growers - since it is impossible to control the development of the active ingredient in the growing plant in such a precise manner.

The court's ruling stated that the sale of oils, resins, inflorescences and leaves of marijuana sativa is prohibited , because the regulation on cultivation does not include them among the marketable derivatives. This type of product will no longer be able to be sold unless it is demonstrated that they are "without doping efficacy" .

And in the rest of the world?

The situation in the rest of the world is very varied. There are countries such as Uruguay , Canada , California and many others that have completely legalized the production and sale of cannabis, which occurs under full state control. In others – such as the Netherlands and North Korea marijuana is tolerated , but not officially legalized and can be sold and consumed in private businesses. In Belgium, France, Italy, Spain and many other countries , marijuana is regulated in its sale and production and is subject to various limitations linked to the quantity of active ingredient contained and the psycho-physical characteristics of the consumer.

Obviously, throughout the rest of the world, prohibitionism reigns supreme , with very high risks for consumers and for those who sell cannabis on the black market.

Legalization or regulation: what changes?

There is a big difference between regulating and fully legalizing cannabis. Regulating the production , sale and consumption of cannabis means setting both positive and negative limits on the standards that must be respected to put the substance on sale: the state maintains control over production and supervises the quality of the substance and its sale.

In this way, the risks linked to poor quality and the use of harmful substances, often present in cannabis sold illegally, are limited. Legalizing cannabis and liberalizing its trade instead means allowing everyone to be able to grow marijuana , with or without prior authorizations, and to sell and administer it in public places or places open to the public.

Certainly the two paths have different implications and a different impact on the state's involvement in the operation. The data from the countries that have opted to renounce prohibitionism is however positive, both in terms of the quality of the substance and the impact of legalization on organized crime, which holds the exclusivity of illegal sales.

Legalization: more quality, less crime

Prohibition has many consequences. In the 2015 annual report, the DNA - National Anti-Mafia Directorate - stated that the cancellation of the crime of production and sale of soft drugs - which represents more than half of the drug market - would generate savings of almost 800 million euros , following the lower expenses between the judiciary, detention institutions, public order and security. This is a huge amount of money, which could be used to combat hard drugs, such as cocaine, heroin and synthetic drugs.

There is another very important piece of data, and it is an estimate of the "turnover" of the cannabis black market : according to the National Anti-Mafia Directorate, it amounts to around 30 billion euros a year , equal to around 2% of the national GDP . More than half of this amount is linked to the sale of marijuana and its derivatives alone. Stopping prohibition and legalizing marijuana would be a historic move to successfully fight organized crime.

There is another very important issue related to the legalization of cannabis. In Italy, every year, around 5 million people use hashish or marijuana and buy it on the black market. In a 2016 study, the University of Bern analyzed 191 marijuana samples seized by law enforcement on Swiss territory. The discovery was worrying: 91% of these products are "cut" with various types of substances , with the aim of increasing the weight of the grass and having more profits, but also to increase the psychotropic effect or to make the flowers more beautiful. .

Ammonia, lacquer, glass wool, lead, aluminum, iron, chromium and cobalt were found in the samples . Obviously smoking these products can cause serious harm to the unaware consumer; these damages would be avoidable if cannabis were legal and the state monitored its production and controlled its sale.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.