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Italy’s Supreme Court rules growing cannabis for personal use is not a crime

The ruling marks a shift in the court’s approach to cannabis-related offences.



The ruling by Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation may set a precedent for future cases.

Via Cannareporter

In a landmark decision, Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation has ruled that growing a small number of cannabis plants at home for personal use, does not constitute a crime. 

The decision came in response to an appeal made by a man who had been accused of possession of narcotics. 

The Naples Court of Appeal had previously partially revised the initial verdict and acquitted the accused of the crime. 

The Supreme Court ruling, published on 24 February, marks a shift in the court’s approach to cannabis-related offences. 

The judges noted that the defendant was a regular consumer and that there was no evidence to suggest that the cannabis he was growing was intended for sale or distribution to third parties. 

Furthermore, cultivation was carried out using rudimentary techniques, resulting in a limited number of plants and a negligible amount of the substance. 

By applying these criteria, the Court confirmed the harmlessness of the defendant’s behaviour. They acknowledged that the substance found was intended only for personal use, with no indication that the defendant intended to sell or distribute the product. Furthermore, cultivation was limited in scope and carried out using basic methods. 

This landmark decision recognises a growing acceptance of personal cannabis use and the minimal risk posed by small-scale cultivation for personal use. 

The ruling, which may set a precedent for similar cases in the future,  has been welcomed by drug policy reform advocates, who see it as a step towards a more rational and evidence-based approach to drug laws. 

A shift in attitudes in Italy?

This is the second sign of a significant shift towards a more liberal stance on cannabis in Italy over recent weeks. Earlier this month the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio (TAR) annulled a decree from January 2022, that limited hemp production to the use of seeds and fibres.

This decision authorises the use of the whole hemp plant in Italy, bringing the country in line with EU regulations. It is expected to have a significant impact on the country’s cannabis industry and supply chains and is likely to lead to the introduction of CBD and hemp flower to the Italian market. 

This article was originally published by Cannareporter and is reprinted here with permission. 

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