By Anthony Martinelli

Italy’s Chamber of Deputies will debate a bill to legalize recreational cannabis on Monday, July 25th. Specifically, the measure would legalize the possession of up to 15 grams of cannabis, and the personal cultivation of up to 5 plants; cannabis clubs and retail outlets would also be allowed.

“[T]his bill, if it becomes law, will be of great significance not just within Italy but regionally and even globally”, says Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “With five more U.S. states preparing to vote on marijuana legalization on November 8, and Canada poised to legalize marijuana next year, Italy could well provide the catalyst that Europe needs to move forward in ending marijuana prohibition.”

The measure – the full text of which can be found by clicking here – was formulated by the Inter-gruppo Parlamentare Cannabis Legale, a bipartisan group of senators and representatives, and was cosponsored by 294 representatives, or roughly a third of parliament.

“Prohibitionist policies have failed in their impossible aim to eliminate the use of drugs and have not reduced the illegal market for cannabis”, says Senator Della Vedova. “Instead, organized crime has controlled the whole chain: production, processing and sales. By legalizing cannabis, the State would cut off substantial income from organized crime and transfer the illegal profits to the State budget”.

According to a recent poll by IPSOS Public Affairs, seven out of 10 Italian adults believe that the country should adopt a cannabis policy similar to Colorado’s, which allows for cannabis possession, cultivation and licensed distribution,

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