The committee, called "Legal Cannabis," is made up of 218 deputies and senators — a significant number, considering that the total numbers of Italy's members of Parliament is 945.
The committee's proposal represents a strong change from the policies of the past quarter century, which were strongly repressive towards consumers — in particular with the 2006 Fini-Giovanardi law, which strongly increased punishments for cannabis users. That law was later found unconstitutional and repealed.
According to an Ipsos poll commissioned by the committee, the proposal would get broad consensus: 73 percent of Italians are in favor of the legalization of cannabis, including many conservative voters (support for legalization just within the latter group is slightly above 50 percent).
The bill is the starting point for a comprehensive law based on three pillars: possession and consumption; sale; and therapeutic use.
Every adult person may keep up to 15 grams at home and may carry up to 5 grams, also for recreational purposes. The absolute prohibition for minors stays, as does the prohibition against street dealing.
Home cultivation will be allowed: every individual can have up to 5 plants, after obtaining prior authorization by the agency in charge. In this regard, the privacy law would need to be modified to include greater protection for this kind of information.
There will be also the possibility to create cannabis social clubs: groups of up to 50 adults (no minors allowed) can grow marijuana in association, on a non-profit basis, for a total of 250 plants.
People will be allowed to grow, process and sell cannabis (retail). For all these options, a special license will be provided. Import and export will remain prohibited.
Self-production will be granted, as well as facilitated procedures to buy medicines derived from cannabis.
Other relevant aspects of the law include the prohibition on smoking in public places or even in open public spaces (e.g. in parks), and the fact that 5 percent of the proceeds from cannabis legalization will go into the fund for the fight against drugs, including for educational campaigns.
The goal of the law is to overcome the system of criminalization of the consumer, but also to take away money from organized crime, directing it instead into the government budget. This will help the country’s economy, boosting various sectors related to the chain of production, processing and consumption.
"We are sure that the law will be approved in this legislature," said the committee’s spokesman.