Tag: Politics

The Future of Legal Pot in Italy

At the beginning of April of this year, Marijuana.com reported that the Radicali Italiani movement in Italy was in the process of drafting a bill to legalize adult-use cannabis within the culturally influential European nation.

The Italians have legalized and implemented a medical cannabis system. For the legalization of adult-use pot, however, we were informed by the President of the Radicali movement, Antonella Soldo, that many hurdles still exist.

Marijuana.com caught up with Soldo to get a progress report on their important efforts.

Radicali Italiani together with the Luca Coscioni Association and with all the other major anti-prohibitionist movements in Italy, promoted a popular proposal of law,” said Soldo. “We created a successful campaign (called Legalizziamo) and raised 68,000 signatures from Italian citizens asking for legal marijuana. But our proposal [has not been] discussed yet.”

As in many other countries that prohibit the sale, cultivation, or use of cannabis, the Italian jails are overflowing with non-violent, marijuana-related offenders. “Smoking marijuana is not a crime in Italy but growing and selling are. As a [result] Italian jails are full of smokers or small-time sellers,” she said. “The Italian population is ready to accept a change of behavior toward this topic. People know prohibitionism can be dangerous for a lot of citizens, especially young people.”

Although Soldo feels that everyday citizens are prepared for change, she thinks differently of the government’s position. “Political support is weak. This is just [because of] ideological reasons and the illusion that [those not in favor] are the best voters for them.”

Despite the fact that medical marijuana has been legal in Italy since 2007, Soldo noted that it is very difficult to find an Italian doctor who will prescribe the medicine out of fear of persecution from within the medical community. Soldo believes that stigma needs to be addressed before the government moves forward with any sort of adult-use discussion.

Soldo is thankful for countries in Italy’s backyard as well as others around the world that have legalized cannabis. She sees the global movement to reform cannabis laws a catalyst for moving the discussions forward in Italy. “Thanks to other countries’ experiences, we can study data concerning legalization, [such as] a reduction of overcrowding in jails and a reduction of minors using drugs.”

Regardless of the challenges ahead, Soldo is confident that logic will prevail when it comes to marijuana reform in Italy. “I’m optimistic but I know that it will take time. Maybe I’ll be old when it happens, but I know that it will happen.”

 

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Chris Christie Calls Marijuana Tax Dollars “Blood Money”

When New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s final term expires next January, the state will likely elect a Democrat to replace the Republican. And unlike Christie — who is an outspoken opponent of marijuana reform — the current gubernatorial frontrunner, U.S. ambassador Phil Murphy, sees cannabis legalization as a financial opportunity.  

Speaking at a conference hosted by the New Jersey Hospital Association in Princeton, New Jersey, Christie had some choice words for pro-cannabis legislators:

“They want that blood money? Let them do it. And they will. Let me tell you something — this will be like priority number one come January. I guarantee you, if we have a Democratic governor, it will be priority number one.”

New Jersey’s current medical marijuana program was voted into law just before Christie took office in January 2010. Throughout his term, Governor Christie has continually inhibited the state’s medical marijuana program from swift expansion: PTSD was just added to New Jersey’s list of qualifying medical conditions last year and chronic pain is currently under consideration.

Last year, New Jersey Democrats led by Senator Nick Scutari took a pilgrimage to Colorado to see how legalization worked; Scutari concluded the “sky hasn’t fallen.” Senate President Steve Sweeney added that “I’m committed to it. We are going to have a new governor in January 2018. As soon as the governor gets situated we are all here and we intend to move quickly on it.”

Christie targeted those legislators specifically, comparing their efforts to legalize cannabis with more illicit drugs:

“People like Nick Scutari and Steve Sweeney and Phil Murphy want to bring this poison, legalized, into this state under the premise that, well, it doesn’t matter because people can buy it illegally anyway,” Christie said. “Then why not legalize heroin? I mean, their argument fails just on that basis. Let’s legalize cocaine. Let’s legalize heroin. Let’s legalize angel dust. Let’s legalize all of it. What’s the difference? Let everybody choose.”

Heroin overdoses kill over 50,000 Americans annually. There are no recorded deaths from cannabis consumption in the history of mankind.

Christie’s distaste for cannabis is well-documented. While running for President, Christie promised to undo cannabis legalization laws, saying “If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it. As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.

In 2012, Christie vetoed a New Jersey medical marijuana bill: “the federal government still says marijuana is an illegal drug. I don’t think we should send any sort of tacit approval to our children that somehow this is not bad anymore,” said Christie.

In late March, the Trump Administration tapped Chris Christie as the chair of a special commission designed to curb America’s opioid crisis.

 

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“Thousands of Pounds” Were Seized in Colorado’s Black Market Bust

Just days after Colorado’s House passed a bill targeting the state’s black market, the DEA and Colorado authorities raided over 20 illicit facilities used to grow and export illegal marijuana. This bust resulted from months-long investigation and not related to the recent bill, but Colorado’s recent plea to wipe out the state’s black market is off […]

 

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