Italy’s Government Will Not Block Cannabis Legalization Referendum

Italy’s Government Will Not Block Cannabis Legalization Referendum


Cannabis reform is sweeping the European continent, as evidenced by the fact that Malta recently passed the continent’s first-ever adult-use legalization measure.

A number of other countries have made it public that their current lawmakers have plans to do the same in the somewhat near future.

Italy is a European country that has been on the cusp of legalization for a handful of years now. Voters are likely to see a legalization referendum on the ballot next year.

Fortunately for the hardworking activists who pushed for the referendum, Italy’s Prime Minister indicated this month that the government has no plans to stand in the way of the referendum moving forward.

2021 Signature Drive

Earlier this year cannabis activists in Italy turned in roughly 630,000 signatures in an attempt to get limited cannabis legalization in front of voters.

The signature drive was originally launched in September 2021 and it only took a handful of weeks in order to get to the 630,000+ mark, thanks largely to new digital signature gathering provisions in Italy.

Activists around the globe were worried Italy’s government would try, at the very least, to slow down the process of the vote. Italy’s Prime Minister indicated otherwise.

“The government will not be constituted against the admissibility of referendums,” Prime Minister Mario Draghi said at a recent press conference (translated from Italian to English). “The government could in some cases have created conditions whereby the presentation would be postponed to next year and it has not done so.”

Building On Case Law

In late 2019, Italy’s Supreme Court determined that cannabis prohibition as it pertains to personal cultivation was unconstitutional, paving the way for adult-use legalization in Italy, at least to some degree.

The Court decision provides some protection. It also leaves more questions than answers, which is why the referendum measure is still necessary.

Since the 2019 ruling, lawmakers in Italy have tried to pass a comprehensive adult-use legalization measure. Passage of such legislation has remained elusive.

Thankfully, Italy has the referendum process in place so that the voters in Italy can do something that apparently the Supreme Court and lawmakers in Italy cannot do: end cannabis prohibition once and for all.

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