By Enzo Schillaci
The poll initiative to decriminalize the cultivation of the hashish plant in Italy was below assault in early November as right-wing politicians tried to suppress the initiative.
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Lega and Fratelli d’Italia (FdI) argued that the proponents of the initiative weren’t eligible for receiving a one-month extension—till October 31—to submit the signatures.
In September, ReferendumCannabis, the group behind the marketing campaign, managed to gather greater than half 1,000,000 signatures in a single week. This feat was a minimum of partly because of the current laws that allowed to collect signatures electronically.
500,000 signatures are the edge that the regulation requires to succeed in earlier than a measure can go to a poll. On this case, it might enable Italians to resolve whether or not to grant adults the correct to develop a small variety of vegetation from marijuana seeds for private use at house.
The initiative would additionally decriminalize the possession of non-public quantities of the drug and take away penalties for sure small offenses associated to hashish. An essential clause within the petition is to cease revoking driver’s licenses of hashish customers.
The velocity with which the signatures below the petition had been collected additionally displays the shift in public opinion towards hashish. In response to the campaigners, round 6 million folks in Italy are lively leisure people who smoke. In 2019, Supreme Court docket dominated that non-commercial home cultivation isn’t a punishable offense. The medicinal use of the drug can be authorized in Italy—since 2007.
Nonetheless, the conservatives are towards the additional liberalization of hashish legal guidelines. Matteo Salvini, the right-wing Lega Nord chief, opined that drug is a drug and all medication are dying. He stored repeating this sentiment throughout his marketing campaign for the October elections. Different right-leaning events assist this place.
On the identical time, the pro-legalization sentiments amongst Italy’s political class are additionally sturdy. When Lega and Fdl tried to kill the poll initiative, their transfer was rejected by Partito Democratico, M5S, and +Europa. Even Forza Italia, which is Lega and Fdl’s ally, abstained from the vote.
The try to dam the referendum was primarily based on a technicality. Earlier, all different present poll initiatives obtained a 1-month extension of the deadline for the submission of signatures. And all these initiatives started earlier than June 15. The initiative to legalize hashish cultivation was the one one which began later—in September. So it wasn’t talked about within the resolution that granted the extension to others.
It was sufficient for the conservatives to argue that it shouldn’t obtain the identical remedy. Whereas the campaigners themselves had been outraged by these “soiled methods”, Vittoria Baldino of the M5S additionally referred to as these techniques “shameful” and Giuditta Pini of the PD tweeted that it was an try and “forestall the nation from expressing itself.”
The difficulty for the campaigners started even earlier once they had been combating for the extension within the first place. With out it, municipalities wouldn’t have the ability to present voter registration certificates in time. The elevated municipalities’ workload earlier than the October elections was the explanation why the poll measures obtained a further month.
Nonetheless, after weeks spent in a bureaucratic quagmire, hashish advocates obtained what they needed and had been capable of submit greater than 630,000 signatures to correct authorities. Now, that the last-ditch effort by the conservatives to sabotage their initiative has been thwarted, the referendum stands an opportunity.
The petition may be now submitted for approval to the Supreme Court docket of Cassation which is able to confirm whether or not all signatures are reputable. Then it is going to be as much as the constitutional court docket to verify if the language of the initiative complies with the nation’s structure.
Establishing the date of the poll is the job of the president who will concern a particular decree. If every part goes as deliberate, the vote will happen between April and June subsequent 12 months. To be legitimate, it should obtain a quorum, that means the vast majority of Italian residents should take a stand. Nearly all of ‘sure’ votes can be wanted for the initiative to move.
Advocates of hashish reform see this proposal as a possibility to deal a blow to felony teams which have lengthy been making the most of trafficking illicit substances, together with hashish.