Italian Advocates Collect 500,000 Signatures for Decriminalization of Cannabis and Psychoactive Substances

Italian advocate group Referendum Cannabis announced that it has collected 500,000 signatures in one week for its proposed ballot measure, which would decriminalize cannabis cultivation and consumption, as well as other psychoactive substances.

Advocates in charge of Referendum Cannabis announced on Facebook on September 18 that they have collected 500,000 signatures in just one week. It’s also the minimum number of signatures required to qualify for a nationwide ballot voting measure set for Spring 2022.

According to the group, Referendum Cannabis will continue to collect more signatures, according to this Facebook translation. “In less than a week we’ve gathered more than half a million signatures for the #ReferendumCannabis, a stunning outcome that was possible thanks to the efforts of thousands of activists. But to send a clear message to the politics that is already undermining the importance of this result, we want to undermine the parliament with a green tide! Also to be sure to reach the goal and vote in the spring next spring it’s essential to reach 600,000 signatures.”

This success was partially made possible because of a new law that was passed in July, which legitimized the use of collecting signatures digitally. Prior to this, signatures had to be collected in person. According to the Agenzia Giornialistica Italia, advocates of Referendum Cannabis are proud to see how successful the campaign has been with the allowance of digital signatures. “An extraordinary but not surprising result: an intervention on the topic of Cannabis was needed for some time and with the digital signature in a few days the issue exploded,” the advocates told Agenzia Giornialistica Italia, according to a translation.

“This referendum is the first Italian signature collection held entirely online on the site. The speed of the mobilization confirms the desire for change on cannabis but also for participation in decisions on matters that affect personally. Now, however, we need to collect a further 15 percent more signatures to be sure of being able to deliver the referendum to the Supreme Court on September 30.”

If the referendum becomes law, it would decriminalize cannabis cultivation and would “eliminate the prison sentence for any illegal conduct relating to cannabis, with the exception of the association aimed at illicit trafficking pursuant to art,” the Referendum Cannabis’ website states. It would remove the ban on driving a moped for three years if an individual has been found in possession or consumption of drugs, as it would “eliminate the sanction of the suspension of the driving license and of the certificate of suitability to drive mopeds currently intended for all conducts aimed at the personal use of any narcotic or psychotropic substance…”

Italian Group Also Pushes to Legalize Psilocybin

It would also allow Italian residents to use other psychoactive substances, specifically psilocybin. “It is also worth remembering that with the exception of cannabis inflorescences (and mushrooms), all other narcotic substances necessarily require subsequent steps for the substance to be consumed, activities which continue to be punished in Article 73.” However, the group does not specific which psychoactive substances would be allowed.

A few of the most prominent supporters of Referendum Cannabis include the Luca Coscioni Association, Meglio Legale, Forum Droghe, Società della Ragione, “Antigone and by the Italian + Europa, Possible and Radical parties.” The referendum will still need to be approved by the Supreme Court of Cassation and Constitutional Court of Italy in order to proceed as a ballot measure next year.

On September 8, the country’s Justice Committee of the lower house of Italian parliament stated that residents may cultivate up to four cannabis plants for personal use, and increases the punishment for illegal cannabis sales from six to 10 years. It has been two years since the Italian Supreme Court ruled that cultivation was legal, although cultivation is still illegal in the United Kingdom.

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