Italy is leading the way with preserving the specific right of home grow in Europe, but this is still a thorny political issue just about everywhere on the continent.
Italy is not letting up on the cannabis home grow conversation. Indeed, after the Constitutional Court refused to allow a cannabis referendum, the issue has refused to die. It now appears that a legislative mandate allowing home cultivation of up to four plants for personal use is headed for the Italian federal legislature.
Whether it passes or not is another question, but the truth of the matter is that the Italians have been one of the leading proponents of home grow in Europe for the last several years.
Everyone else? Not so much.
The Top Reasons Home Grow is Not Popular Within the Cannabis Industry
There are several reasons that home grow is not popular both in political discussions about legalization and the industry itself. These include:
- Home grow is hard to legislate, monitor, and control. The arguments against it include: people who grow their own cannabis at home could sell it; somehow poison themselves and/or those to whom they distribute; expose minors to high levels of THC.
- Even in situations, however, where home grow must be licensed (see Canada and certain U.S. states) or performed in a non-profit setting that is also licensed, it is still not popular with the powers that be. This is because such collectives will always offer cheaper prices than commercial cannabis – whether it is medically designated or “just” recreational.” This is a direct threat to the “for-profit” medical and recreational industry.
- It cannot be taxed and often is involved in “grey market” distribution.
However, in an environment where patients are repeatedly denied access because cannabis is too expensive, it is precisely the sickest cannabis users who are being left out of the revolution.
There are several options on the table in Europe right now. The bottom line is that with decriminalization, home grow will have to be at least slightly regulated. It is unlikely it can be completely banned. This means a licensing system – perhaps similar to a dog license in Germany. However, how many plants will be allowed (and what the penalties will be for having more than this minimum amount) is a different conversation – and further one that for now has largely been left off the table.
However, it is a critical step in the normalization of the entire discussion. And as full and final legalization comes to Europe, one that cannot be left out of the room forever.
This article first appeared on InternationalCannabisChronicle.com.