ROME (Reuters) – Weed advocates in Italy stated on Saturday that they had gathered sufficient signatures to set off a referendum on liberalising the usage of hashish, setting the stage for a nationwide vote on the problem early subsequent 12 months.
The referendum proposal seeks to legalise the rising of weed for private use and ease sanctions on different cannabis-related crimes, with offenders not risking jail sentences for promoting small quantities of the drug.
Organisers of the petition gathered the required 500,000 signatures in seven days, way more shortly than traditional as a consequence of a legislation accepted in July that enables signatures to be collected on-line. Previously, solely in-person signing was allowed.
“This is a unprecedented outcome nevertheless it’s not shocking,” stated the referendum’s organising committee, which is made up of a raft of pro-weed advocacy teams.
“The pace of the assist reveals the need for change on hashish,” the committee added in an announcement.
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The signatures will now must be formally verified, and the organisers referred to as on individuals to maintain including their names earlier than an end-September deadline to keep away from any danger of the referendum being rejected if a few of them are deemed invalid.
Antonella Soldo, from the “Better Legal” hashish strain group, stated nearly half of the signatories have been aged underneath 25.
Organising referendums in Italy has been made a lot simpler by the new legislation permitting on-line signatures.
A marketing campaign for a well-liked vote to legalise euthanasia, launched earlier than the pro-cannabis drive, has already gathered greater than 900,000 signatures.
Italy’s essential political events in Mario Draghi’s nationwide unity authorities are divided over hashish.
The 5-Star Movement favours liberalisation, which is staunchly opposed by the right-wing League and Brothers of Italy. The centre-left Democratic Party usually takes a cautious, non-committal line.
Pro-weed teams obtained a lift in 2019 when Italy’s high appeals court docket dominated that rising hashish for private use was authorized, however that verdict has not but been mirrored in new laws, leaving the problem unclear.
(Reporting by Gavin Jones; Editing by Helen Popper)
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