Italy Seeks To Bring in Tough Law on Drugs 

Italy Seeks To Bring in Tough Law on Drugs 
Posted by CN Staff on November 14, 2003 at 21:29:44 PT
By Tony Barber 
Source: Financial Times UK
Italy's centre-right government has approved a proposal making it an offence to possess and use even the smallest quantities of mild narcotics. The move could give Italy some of Europe's most severe anti-drugs laws.People caught with modest amounts of cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and other drugs will be subject to penalties such as deprivation of their passports and driving licences. Those with larger amounts will face prison sentences of up to 20 years.
The proposal, adopted by the prime minister and his cabinet on Thursday, must still be passed by parliament. But approval seems likely because all four parties in the coalition government, headed by Silvio Berlusconi, supported it. The coalition controls both legislative chambers.The proposal goes further than anti-drugs legislation in other European Union countries by abolishing the distinction between so-called "soft" and "hard" drugs. It also virtually turns existing Italian law on its head by starting from the principle that it is drug use, rather than drug abuse, that must be stamped out.In a referendum in April 1993, Italians voted to decriminalise the possession of drugs such as cannabis for personal use. The vote reflected the social reality of a country in which consumption of mild drugs had become increasingly common and whose sunny climate permits extensive cultivation of marijuana, notably in large plantations in the mezzogiorno, or south.According to a 2001 study cited this year by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the EU's official body for analysing trends in drugs use, 9.4 per cent of Italians between the ages of 15 and 34 had used cannabis in the previous year.An article in Cannabis Culture, a Canadian magazine, estimated in 1998 that at least 2m of Italy's 57m people had used cannabis. "Italy has a one-year mandatory draft, and it is common knowledge that an overwhelming majority of the soldiers smoke joints," it said.If the government gets its way, it will no longer be possible - as happened last February - for a court to rule that a 17-year-old student who took 40 joints on a school excursion did nothing wrong because they were for his own use.The legislation draws a dividing line between the amounts of drugs that will incur administrative sanctions - such as passport suspension - and those that will trigger prison sentences.Administrative sanctions will apply to people caught with up to 500 milligrams of cocaine, 300mg of ecstasy, 250mg of cannabis, 200mg of heroin and 50mg of LSD. Any quantities above these limits will incur penal sanctions. For cannabis the law will consider not the joints' weight but the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the brain-affecting substance contained in them.Source: Financial Times (UK)Author: Tony BarberPublished: November 15, 2003Copyright: The Financial Times Limited 2003Website: letters.editor Related Articles:Italy's New Hard Line on Soft Drugs Sparks Row The Dutchie, Don't Sell It, Judge Tells Kids Police Battle Reefer Madness at Swiss Border Region Backs Medical Marijuana 
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Comment #21 posted by John Tyler on November 16, 2003 at 06:46:04 PT
Thanks Jose
Your Blockbuster link showed me that "Grass" the movie is now available in my neighborhood.
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Comment #20 posted by John Tyler on November 16, 2003 at 06:28:37 PT
Grass the movie at Barnes & Noble
Barns and Noble Book store has "Grass" the movie available as a special order item. It is around $20 or so on VHS tape.
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Comment #19 posted by Jose Melendez on November 16, 2003 at 05:51:54 PT
Blast from the Past.
This is long, but I was laughing so hard listening in my mind to the backpedaling etc., I had to share.from: Exchange With Reporters in Wells, Maine      
     September 22, 1989    Q. Mr. President, what do you have to say about the drug bust the DEA     [Drug Enforcement Administration] engineered for your prop in the drug     speech?     The President. I think it was great because it sent a message to the     United States that even across from the White House they can sell drugs.     And so, I don't know all the details of it, but I think it sends a powerful     message to the American people. It was a legitimate drug bust, and I think     to have that happen in the shadow of the -- --     Q. But was it a legitimate claim, sir? They had to lure him there. How     legitimate was your claim that -- --     The President. Every time that some guy gets caught selling drugs, he     pleads that somebody is luring him someplace.     Q. The Park Police said they had to bring him there, Mr. President.     The President. That's the argument of the criminal element. They say:     Somebody is setting me up; I shouldn't have been doing this. This is probably     what he'll argue to get off. I want to crack down on -- that's my answer     to the question.     Q. It's a statement of the Park Police.     The President. What?     Q. It's a statement of the Park Police.     The President. Said what?     Q. Said that there is usually no problem with that there and that they     had to bring the man there in order to buy the material from him.     The President. Yes, but the man went there and sold drugs in front of     the White House, didn't he? That was the bottom line. That's what the     man did. And he was arrested for it and -- I hope he's arrested for it     -- I don't know. See, I can't feel sorry for this fellow.     Q. I don't think that's what the question is about.     The President. Well, what is the question about?     Q. I think the question seems to be more one of were the American people     manipulated into thinking a condition existed that didn't really?     The President. What do you mean, it didn't really? The guy was arrested,     or grabbed, for selling drugs in front of the White House. It didn't exist?     It didn't happen?     Q. The Park Police people say that they had to bring him there in order     to make the buy in order to fulfill the requirements for your speech.     The President. Well, that's what you do whenever you make a bust: You     bring somebody someplace.     Q. They say they did it for you.     The President. And it happened the guy came right in front of the White     House. So, I don't understand your -- I mean, has somebody got some advocates     here for this drug guy?     Q. They say they did it to accommodate your speech, sir, not that it     happens all the time; that they did it just to fulfill the prophecy in     your speech.     The President. The fact is the guy was arrested, or busted, in front     of the White House. Doesn't matter -- I don't care how it got there. It     will probably happen again, unfortunately, but we're going to see that     it doesn't. We're trying to make these neighborhoods, including good neighborhoods,     free of drugs. And that's what the American people want.     Q. The question is, it never would have happened if you weren't making     a speech. That's the point.     The President. They said nobody's ever sold drugs in front of the White     House?     Q. They say that is not a heavy drug area.     Q. Lafayette Park has no problem -- a little marijuana from time to     time, according to the Park Police.     The President. The message that I get out of it is: A man was busted     in front of the White House. And I cannot feel sorry for him. I'm sorry.     They ought not to be peddling these insidious drugs that ruin the children     of this country. And I don't care where it is -- I'm glad that the DEA     and everybody else is going after them with a renewed vigor.     Q. Did you ask for a bag of crack for the speech?     The President. I said I'd like to have something from that vicinity     to show that it can happen anywhere. Absolutely. And that's what they     gave me, and they told me where they caught this guy.     Q. Did they tell you what they'd have to do to procure it?     The President. No.     Q. Well, apparently, sir, he wasn't busted. Only the buy was made there,     and it provided a convenient line for the speech.     The President. Well, I understand there's an ongoing action about this,     too. So, I hope that they do more than get some of the people that are     selling it to him.     Q. You don't think you conveyed the wrong impression in your speech,     that you gave the impression there was a serious problem in Lafayette     Park?     The President. I don't think any neighborhood is free from selling drugs.     I don't think any neighborhood is free from it today. And this proved     that the White House is not -- that Lafayette Park -- that's actually     what it proved. I mean, the man was caught selling drugs in front of the     White House. I think it can happen in any neighborhood, and I think that's     what it dramatized. Don't you, Marlin?     Mr. Fitzwater. Yes, sir, Mr. President.     Note: The President spoke in the afternoon at Morse Tree Farm. In his     remarks, he referred to Marlin Fitzwater, Press Secretary to the President.     A tape was not available for verification of the contents of the remarks.    
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Comment #18 posted by Patrick on November 15, 2003 at 17:37:02 PT
Thank you kindly for the link to Grass The Movie. I just finished watching it. I thought it was very good. It does a great job I think of pointing out the ill effects of prohibition and updates the viewer on the political history of cannabis prohibition and it's cost on the American taxpayer. I would like to see Grass2 Post 9-11. With Ashcroft & Walters and Rainbow Farm and much much more....
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Comment #17 posted by mayan on November 15, 2003 at 16:25:09 PT
Waitin' 4 The Backlash
Italy's goverenment has ignored the overwhelming majority of it's people regarding the Iraq conquest. They just had eighteen of their soldiers die for no reason other than to suck up to the U.S. so they can see some of that cheap oil. Italian citizens aren't to happy with their leaders right now and there is certain to be a tremendous backlash 
there as there will be in the U.S.,Australia and Britain. Now, the Italian government is ignoring it's people regarding the drug laws! Boy, if they aren't pissed enough already.The desperate fascists are trying to fit round pegs into square holes but their tactics are certain to backfire. Their power is waning and nothing can salvage it.If we can just make it through this bottleneck of ignorance,hatred and war we will witness an era of peace and freedom unlike any throughout history.
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Comment #16 posted by BGreen on November 15, 2003 at 13:49:07 PT
I Bought The DVD *GRASS*
That was one I wanted to have in my collection.Netflix allows you to request DVD's they don't have. If somebody suggests "Grass" then I'm sure they'll make it available for rental to a bunch of people who've never heard of it before.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #15 posted by E_Johnson on November 15, 2003 at 10:33:10 PT
Before everyone gets all defeatist
"In a referendum in April 1993, Italians voted to decriminalise the possession of drugs such as cannabis for personal use.
"So ten years ago marijuana won the popular vote.Berlusconi hasn't won a popular vote. He has to govern by a coalition.That means he himself has fewer votes in the population than marijuana does.When he goes to get reelected, he's going to be running against marijuana. That's what he is deciding now.So let's give him a tough fight. I don't think he can win that fight, the fight he's just taking upon himself now.I doubt that he won his current position by promising to do this.
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Comment #14 posted by Jose Melendez on November 15, 2003 at 09:59:39 PT
Grass is at Blockbuster,7286,VID-V+++181372,00.html?
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Comment #13 posted by Jose Melendez on November 15, 2003 at 09:56:57 PT
Drug Warrior Gets death . . . SUSPENDED!
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Comment #12 posted by Necriol on November 15, 2003 at 09:25:12 PT:
I wonder what John Walters thinks.
Italy is the one place in Europe where things are going wrong rapidly.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on November 15, 2003 at 09:05:39 PT
If you have a good connection you can watch Grass The Movie by clicking the link. I don't know where to buy or rent the movie though.
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Comment #10 posted by Patrick on November 15, 2003 at 09:02:04 PT
FoM and BGreen and others. I have been using Netflix for almost a year now and have watched so many movies you wouldn't believe it. Never a late fee and the movies arrive in your mailbox and in my case leave out of the very same mailbox!!! Funny you mentioned Netflix because in another thread Jose Melendez mentioned the movie "Grass" which I had never even heard of. (No crap please for being out of touch.) Being in a Netflix frame of mind I immediately checked out Netflix but they do not have that title. Does anyone know if Blockbuster has it?
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Comment #9 posted by rchandar on November 15, 2003 at 08:51:18 PT:
italy's tough drugs law
depressing, depressing,F#$KIN' DEPRESSING! WHAT A WAY TO GO BACKWARDS!!          --rchandar
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Comment #8 posted by Dan B on November 15, 2003 at 08:46:50 PT:
Go Figure
Dead on, CorvallisEric. Corruption and severe drug laws do go hand in hand. That's because the most corrupt countries of the world have looked at the American model and have seen how useful severe drug laws can be for controlling the populace. Of course, we should also remember that Italy is the birthplace of fascism, and fascists love severe drug laws. "Berlusconi" doesn't sound like "Mussolini," but he sure is acting an awful lot like the fascist dictator himself. He had better pray that he doesn't meet Mussolini's fate. Dan B
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on November 15, 2003 at 07:50:17 PT
Thanks BGreen
I will check it out. We just don't watch many movies anymore so I don't know if I would use the service enough. We buy concerts that we like and keep them and play them when we want. Can't wait for the Greendale movie. Thanks again!
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Comment #6 posted by WolfgangWylde on November 15, 2003 at 07:19:02 PT
Its up to the Itialian..
...people to put a stop to this.
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Comment #5 posted by CorvallisEric on November 15, 2003 at 01:27:50 PT
Not counting most ex-communist countries (which are in BAD shape), Italy is the most corrupt in Europe except for Greece (see the link, scroll down for the table, high score = less corrupt). Greece currently has perhaps the most severe drug laws in Europe. I thought it would be useful to point this out because of the frequent discussions connecting drug laws with corruption.
 Corruption Perceptions Index 2003
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Comment #4 posted by BGreen on November 15, 2003 at 01:17:49 PT
Here's a suggestion, FoM
Check out They are an online DVD rental by mail company. I signed up for their 2-week free trial and I'm going to keep subscribing for a while.They have over 15,000 different DVD's to choose from, so you'll find stuff you'd never find at your local video store. It is a flat $19.95 plus tax per month and they send you 3 DVD's at a time in prepaid envelopes. You just send them back when you're done and they send you more. It usually takes two days for me to get the DVD's from them and two or three days to get the DVD's back to them. They have 20 different distribution warehouses so you might be closer than I am to one. Mine is in Minneapolis, MN.Try it free for two weeks. Sign up and get your three DVD's to watch and cancel before the two weeks are up. They have four different Neil Young DVD's. :-)I've got a ton of places within 10 miles to rent DVD's and yet I'm still a member of Netflix.The Reverend Bud Green
Netflix DVD Rental
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on November 14, 2003 at 23:02:14 PT
I'll try to catch the movie. It isn't easy around here though. No video stores. If you hear that it will be on tv in the future please let me know and we'll watch it.
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Comment #2 posted by BGreen on November 14, 2003 at 22:24:21 PT
Italy's Prime Minister Controls The Italian Media
He is very wealthy and is a bush lover.From the BBC: "Mr Berlusconi himself has made no secret of his desire for a close relationship with US President George Bush. He voiced support for Washington and London in the build- up to the US-led campaign against Iraq." from The Guardian, Feb, 2002: "Berlusconi pushes for control of 90% of Italian TV.",6961,,00.htmlThis smells so much like the police states' influence. It's worked SO WELL here in the land o' the free, why not give it a try in Italy?Scratch off another vacation destination for The Reverend and Mrs. Bud Green.The Reverend Bud GreenP.S. FoM, you need to rent Dazed and Confused. We watched it tonight for the first time in 10 years and really enjoyed it. My wife and I were entering the 9th grade in Sept. '76 just like some of the kids in the movie, so it really hit close to home.
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on November 14, 2003 at 22:21:14 PT
The end of Berlusconi?
His coalition government is living in a dream land.
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