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​Italian city of Turin votes in favor of legalizing cannabis

Published time: January 15, 2014 11:33
AFP Photo / Andreas Solaro

AFP Photo / Andreas Solaro

The city council of Italian city of Turin has approved a motion in favor of legalizing cannabis on Tuesday, becoming the first major city in the country to make the proposal to allow marijuana to be prescribed for medical reasons.

“This is … a move from a prohibitionist structure to one where soft drugs, particularly cannabis, are legally produced and distributed,” appealed the [Turin] city council to the Italian parliament, reports Italian press.

Though the vote doesn't make cannabis legal to consume, buy or sell for individual use, it brings a more tolerant view to the drug in the eyes of the law.

The vote was narrow, however, as only 15 from the [Turin city council] favored the law, while 13 were against and six abstained.

Center-right politicians and the Catholic wing of the People of Liberty (PDL) party opposed the measure. Even Turin’s Mayor Piero Fassino from the center-left Democratic Party, which leads the ruling coalition, abstained from voting.

Turin is considered to be the first large city in Italy to speak out about the legalization of so-called light drugs, says Marco Grimaldi from the democratic socialist party SEL (Left, Ecology and Freedom), who proposed the law.

“We want to put an end to the political prohibition, which has only served to give illegal traffickers hundreds of billions of euros, and thousands of citizens a criminal record,” says Grimaldi, reports Torino la Repubblica.

The proposal itself consists of two parts. According to its first part, the use of marijuana is permitted for therapeutic and medical purposes.

The second part of the proposal overrules the restrictive 2006 Fini-Giovanardi law on drugs, which abolishes any distinction between soft and hard drugs and introduces the same penalties for possession/use of cannabis and heroin (or cocaine).

Now this part of the law if approved in the Italian parliament may pave the way for legalization of recreational marijuana use in Italy.

The medical use of marijuana has been already allowed in some Italian regions like Liguria, Tuscany and Veneto, but recreational consumption of the drug is still taboo there.

In recent years curbs have been easing on the sale of cannabis-based products for medical use across the world. Colorado became the first US state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and to allow it to be sold in shops beginning this year.

Last year France also approved some types of marijuana-based medicine, while Uruguay became the first country to fully legalize the sale and production of the drug, despite global criticism.

In the Netherlands, cannabis products are only sold openly in ‘coffee shops’. Though cannabis is technically illegal, the country decriminalized possession of less than five grams of the substance in 1976.

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