Italy’s Supreme Court Gets It Right, Growing Your Own Cannabis Is Not a Crime

Cultivating quality cannabis is not a simple task. One of my personal pet peeves is when people claim that growing must be so easy, since it “grows like a weed.” While the plant can “grow like a weed” if you simply want to keep it alive, but if you desire top shelf, or even medium shelf, flowers, there is a lot that goes into the cultivation process, depending upon a plethora of factors, from genetics to the soil to whether you are cultivating indoors or outdoors. It can be done, of course, but it isn’t as easy as plopping up a cannabis plant somewhere with sunlight and just feeding it water.

However, regardless of the difficulty of cannabis cultivation, it is something that should be available to all adults, without any fear of criminal punishment. Personally, I believe that no legalization law is complete without home cultivation (I’m looking North up to you, Washington State) and am proud that Oregon allows adult households up to four plants without any medical license. Cultivating your own cannabis can be therapeutic for patients, a fun past time, or an inexpensive way to supply, or supplement, your usage.

While the exact specifics of the case and its implications aren’t available yet, the Italian Supreme Court recently ruled that growing your own personal cannabis garden is not a crime. The case appealed to Italy’s top court arose from the fact that a local man was sentenced to up to a year in prison for growing two plants for his own use. Wisely, the court determined that such actions do not warrant a harsh criminal punishment, as The New York Times reported:

Growing small amounts of marijuana at home for private use is not a crime, Italy’s top court has ruled, putting an end to a yearslong legal dispute and adding Italy to the short list of countries to allow cultivation of recreational cannabis.

A 1990s law prohibits the cultivation and sale of marijuana in Italy, but conflicting court decisions, and a 2016 amendment that opened a loophole in the law, created confusion over how it should be interpreted.

The country’s highest court appears to have settled at least part of the question, writing in a one-page statement of its findings that “at home, small-scale cultivation activities are to be considered excluded from the application of the penal code.”

Hopefully, the decision leads full legalization ultimately as legislators and policymakers should find the ruling untenable as people learn that cultivating a couple of cannabis plants is no longer a crime, but without certainty regarding plant or possession limits. Italy should take the next step and end cannabis prohibition, bringing more freedom, jobs and revenue to its people.

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