9th September 2021
By Emily Ledger
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Italy is set to be one of the first European countries to decriminalise recreational cannabis, following a historic vote from MPs. The reforms would also allow people to grow up to four cannabis plants in their homes for personal use.

The Daily Mail reports that the reform was approved by the Lower House’s justice committee on Wednesday (8th September) after being put forward for consideration by MP Riccardo Magi.

Italy will be one of the first countries in Europe to permit the home cultivation of the plant, with Spain and the Czech Republic both allowing the cultivation of up to five plants in private residences.

While personal use and cultivation will now be allowed, the reform will also increase the penalties for trafficking and dealing cannabis from six years to 10 years.

In December 2019 a landmark decision from Italy’s Supreme Court ruled that small-scale domestic cultivation of cannabis was legal, fuelling an intense debate over cannabis use and further liberalisation between cannabis reform advocates and critics.

While only a small number of European countries have so far decriminalised the use of recreational cannabis, there are a number of reforms in motion across the continent.

In 2019, lawmakers in Luxembourg announced plans to legalise the recreational use of cannabis. While the legal market was initially planned to launch at the end of 2021, disruptions caused by a number of factors, including the Coronavirus pandemic, have caused delays. The possession and use of cannabis were decriminalised in Luxembourg in 2001.

Pilot schemes have also been announced in Switzerland, France, and the Netherlands to assess the implications of legalising the recreational use of cannabis.

Contrary to popular belief, and a decades-old booming cannabis industry, recreational cannabis remains illegal in the Netherlands. The consumption and possession of small amounts of cannabis were decriminalised in 1973, and have been tolerated ever since. However, the cultivation of cannabis remains prohibited, contributing to a complex and confusing state of affairs.

In the UK, the possession, use, supply, and cultivation (except for licensed production for medicinal products) of cannabis remains illegal, despite growing calls for meaningful reforms.

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