1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Italy decriminalizes small-scale cannabis growing

December 27, 2019

The ruling only applies to "small amounts grown domestically for the exclusive use of the grower." It has drawn ire and protest from the country's conservatives.

Marijuana is seen at a store in Milan, Italy.
Image: Getty Images/AFP/M. Medina

Italy's top court, the Court of Cassation, ruled earlier in December that an exception should be made to laws against growing cannabis plants.

In a new interpretation of the law on growing narcotic plants, judges decreed that the crime of cultivating narcotic drugs should be altered to exclude "small amounts grown domestically for the exclusive use of the grower."

Heady stuff — the business of legal cannabis

The ruling was made on December 19 but was not reported by local news outlets until Thursday.

Read moreItaly's 5-Star Movement wants members to vote on new coalition online

League, 5-Star divided (as usual)

"Drugs cause harm, forget about growing them or buying them in shops," said right-wing League Party leader Matteo Salvini in a statement on Friday.

The former interior minister has publicly stated his opposition to any steps towards legalization, and declared a "war on cannabis" earlier this year. Since 2016, Italy has permitted the sale of extremely low-strength cannabis-style products in specialist stores. Salvini welcomed a Court of Cassation verdict earlier in the year toughening up restrictions on this practice. 

Read more: Italy seizes 20 tons of hashish hidden in ship fuel tanks

However, Matteo Mantero, a senator from the co-ruling and left-leaning Five Star Movement lauded the decision. "The court has opened the way, now it's up to us," he said.

DW sends out a daily selection of the day's news and features. Sign up here.

lc/msh (dpa, Reuters)