Italy Poised to Release More than 10,000 Marijuana Prisoners with Law Change
Italy is readying to release approximately 10,000 inmates due to a change in sentencing laws that ease punishment for cannabis use, growth, and possession in the country.
The change comes as a result of the striking down of a law that previously tripled cannabis related sentences. This will affect many of the over 40% of inmates that were sentenced in drug related crimes, many of them for simple possession of marijuana. While many are excited about this possible change of heart, the ‘new’ law actually harkens to earlier days prior to the Italian Justice system tripling sentences for cannabis possession or use.
While cannabis users will be given a lighter sentence, hard drug users of substances like cocaine and heroin will result in much longer sentences.
For many who have served time for marijuana possession, they will be released based on time served, and others will enjoy a drastic reduction in sentencing – some who could have planned to spend their lives in jail with sentences of 6-20 years will have their sentences reduced to 2-6 years.
Franco Corleone, member of the human rights group Society of Reason states,
“…the so-called drug war as conceived in North America has been lost and it’s time to return to rational rules that distinguish between substances.”
Senator Carlo Giovanardi, one of the original authors of the triple-sentence law said the ruling was:
“…a devastating choice from a scientific viewpoint and in the message it sends to young people that some drugs are less dangerous than others.”
Many believe that Italy’s laws for possession are way too harsh; however, and celebrate this coming change, noting that not all drugs should be compared to marijuana, and that neither heroin nor cocaine have medicinal qualities. (Despite the United States classifying marijuana as a Schedule I substance with ‘no medicinal value’, along with heroin, countless pieces of research have outlined the proven and potential benefits of this controversial plant.)
Italy currently has roughly 60,000 inmates in its overcrowded jail system as part of the European Union. America, by comparison, was approaching more than 2.5 million inmates as of 2012, many of those inmates also doing time for possession of marijuana. It’s time for an adjustment.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.