The vote was narrow, however, as only 15 favored the law, while 13 were against and six abstained. Center-right politicians and the Catholic wing of the People of Liberty (PDL) party opposed the measure. Even Turin’s Mayor Piero Fassino from the center-left Democratic Party, which leads the ruling coalition, abstained from voting. Turin is considered to be the first large city in Italy to speak out about the legalization of so-called light drugs, says Marco Grimaldi from the democratic socialist party SEL (Left, Ecology and Freedom), who proposed the law. “We want to put an end to the political prohibition, which has only served to give illegal traffickers hundreds of billions of euros, and thousands of citizens a criminal record,” says Grimaldi, reports Torino la Repubblica. Though, the bill doesn’t make pot legal to consume, buy or sell for individual use, it brings a more tolerant view of the drug in the eyes of the law. “This is … a move from a prohibitionist structure to one where soft drugs, particularly cannabis, are legally produced and distributed,” appealed the [Turin] city council to the Italian parliament, reports Italian press. The law itself consists of two parts. According to its first part, the use of marijuana is permitted for therapeutic and medical purposes. The second part of the law overrules the restrictive 2006 Fini-Giovanardi law on drugs, which abolishes any distinction between soft and hard drugs and introduces the same penalties for possession/use of cannabis and heroin (or cocaine). Now this part of the law may pave the way for legalization of recreational marijuana use in Italy. The medical use of marijuana has been already allowed in some Italian regions like Liguria, Tuscany and Veneto, but the recreational consumption of the drug is still taboo there. In recent years curbs have been easing on the sale of cannabis-based products for medical use across the world. Colorado and New York became the first US states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and to allow it to be sold in shops beginning this year. Last year France also approved some types of marijuana-based medicine, while Uruguay became the first country to fully legalize the sale and production of the drug, despite global criticism. In the Netherlands, cannabis products are only sold openly in ‘coffee shops’. Though cannabis is technically illegal, the country decriminalized possession of less than five grams of the substance in 1976.
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