This article was originally published on Cannabis and technology today and appears here with permission.
Cannabis reform is sweeping the European continent, as evidenced by the fact that Malta recently passed the continent’s first-ever adult legalization measure.
A number of other countries have indicated that their current legislators plan to do the same in the not too distant future.
Italy is a European country that has been on the verge of legalizing for a few years now. Voters will likely see a legalization referendum on the ballot next year.
Luckily for campaigners pushing for the referendum, Italy’s prime minister signaled this month that the government had no intention of blocking the referendum from proceeding.
2021 Signature Campaign
Earlier this year, cannabis activists in Italy filed around 630,000 signatures in a bid to push for limited cannabis legalization in front of voters.
The signature campaign was initially launched in September 2021 and it took just a few weeks to hit the 630,000+ mark, largely thanks to new digital signature collection arrangements in Italy.
Activists around the world feared that the Italian government was trying to, at the very least, slow down the voting process. The Italian Prime Minister has indicated the opposite.
“The government will not be formed against the admissibility of the referendums,” said Prime Minister Mario Draghi. at a recent press conference (translated from Italian to English). “The government could have in some cases created conditions for the presentation to be postponed until next year and they did not.”
Rely on case law
At the end of 2019, the Italian Supreme Court determined that the prohibition of cannabis with regard to personal cultivation was unconstitutional, paving the way for the legalization of consumption by adults in Italy, at least to some extent.
The Court’s decision offers some protection. It also leaves more questions than answers, which is why the referendum measure is still necessary.
Since the 2019 ruling, Italian lawmakers have attempted to pass a comprehensive measure legalizing adult use. The passage of such legislation has remained elusive.
Luckily, Italy set up the referendum process so Italian voters could do something the Supreme Court and Italian lawmakers apparently can’t: end the ban on cannabis once and for all.