Italy High Court Tosses Voter-Backed Cannabis Reform Referendum

Italy’s Constitutional Court threw out a voter initiative to allow home cannabis cultivation and ease penalties for other cannabis-related offenses.

Full story after the jump.

Italy’s Constitutional Court struck down a proposed voter initiative that would have eased restrictions on growing cannabis and other cannabis-related offenses, according to a Reuters report. Giuliano Amato, president of the high court and a former prime minister, said the proposal included policies that were “enough to make us violate multiple international obligations.”

Although unclear, Amato may be referring to the inclusion of psilocybin in the ballot effort.

Riccardo Magi, a lawmaker and leading supporter of the initiative, said the decision was a “terrible blow to democracy.”

“It’s almost impossible to hold a referendum in Italy,” he said in the report.

The court also threw out a ‘right to life’ voter petition along with the cannabis proposal. Combined, the two potential ballot measures gathered 1.8 million signatures but still failed to pass the court’s inspection. However, five lesser-known judicial system-related measures did pass court scrutiny and will be in front of voters later this year, Reuters notes.

Last year organizers of the ballot measure said they collected 500,000 signatures in just one week, prior to submitting it to the court. They believed the effort “would put an end to unnecessary trials for small amounts of the drug and ensure that patients who use it to relieve their excruciating pain will never have to face a court again.”

In December, fellow European Union member Malta became the first country in the union to legalize adult-use cannabis. Germany’s new coalition government, meanwhile, last November announced it would move to legalize cannabis.

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