A referendum in Italy to decriminalize cannabis is on track to meet the 500,000 signatures it needs to be considered by lawmakers prior to the September 30 deadline, Euractiv reports. If approved, Italy would become just the fourth European Union member state to pass the reforms, joining Portugal—which has decriminalized all drugs—the Czech Republic, and Estonia.
The referendum has already garnered more than 420,000 signatures in just four days.
Under Italian law, possession of personal amounts of cannabis is punishable with the suspension of one’s driver’s license, while cannabis sales are met with two to six months incarceration.
Giuseppe Civati, founder of Possibile, a progressive party that is promoting the referendum alongside other groups, told Euractiv that Italy’s “politics has long been completely static on subjects that are considered taboo in a purely electoral logic, and the current government—including everyone from left to right—doesn’t help.”
“There are around a million cannabis consumers in Italy. The people who use it are not the kind of marginalized members of society as right-wing parties describe them, and many parts of the United States have made it legal through referenda too.”—Civati to Euractiv
He added that the referendum process in Italy “has become much easier” due to the introduction of digital signatures, “which seriously cut organization costs.”
The legalization of divorce and abortion in Italy was achieved through the referendum process. Another campaign to legalize euthanasia has already surpassed the 500,000-signature threshold.
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