In a momentous ruling, the Supreme Court of Cassation in Italy has declared that growing a small number of cannabis plants at home for personal use is not a crime. This decision comes after an appeal made by an individual who was accused of possessing narcotics.
Previously, the Naples Court of Appeal had revised the initial verdict and acquitted the accused of the crime. The Supreme Court ruling, which was published on February 24, represents a significant shift in the court’s approach to cannabis-related offenses.
The judges observed that the defendant was a regular consumer and that there was no evidence to suggest that the cannabis he was growing was intended for sale or distribution to third parties. Moreover, the cultivation was carried out using basic techniques, resulting in a limited number of plants and a negligible amount of the substance.
This historic decision acknowledges the growing acceptance of personal cannabis use and the minimal risk associated with small-scale cultivation for personal use. The ruling, which could set a precedent for similar cases in the future, has been applauded by drug policy reform advocates, who see it as a step towards a more rational and evidence-based approach to cannabis laws.
By taking these factors into account, the Court affirmed the harmlessness of the defendant’s conduct. They recognized that the cannabis found was meant only for personal use, with no indication that the defendant planned to sell or distribute it.
This marks the second indication of a significant shift towards a more liberal stance on cannabis in Italy in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio (TAR) invalidated an order from January 2022 that restricted hemp production to the use of seeds and fibres.
This new ruling permits the use of the entire hemp plant in Italy, bringing the country into line with EU regulations. It is expected to have a significant impact on the country’s cannabis industry and supply chains and is likely to result in the introduction of cannabis and hemp flower to the Italian market.