Separation of church and state might be a popular idea in America, but there are lots of countries that have official national religions that end up playing a pretty big role in government. Italy has recently abolished their state religion earlier this year, but they are still heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic Church. The vast majority of Italians are Catholic, which means they take a lot of stock into what the pope has to say on certain issues. Well right now the pope is speaking out against a new movement that’s gaining traction in Italy to legalize cannabis. Despite the fact that many of us consider cannabis to be a gift directly from God, the guy who is talking to him directly doesn’t seem to feel the same way. It will be interesting to see how much the pope’s disapproval on this issue will affect the voting outcome later this year. If Italy did manage to legalize cannabis, that would put it in a unique pack leader position in Europe and it could wind up being the important first falling domino that leads to other neighboring countries following suit.
The Italian parliament has already started discussions on what legalizing recreational cannabis would look like in their country. The bill that is currently being looked over has been backed by many groups on the left side of Italian politics. The Democratic Party and the Secretary for Foreign Affairs both support the bill that would allow citizens to grow up to five plants at a time. The bill would also allow for an Italian citizen to be carrying up to five grams in public and to have fifteen grams in their homes. These laws are pretty conservative compared to a lot of the recreational and medicinal laws in the United states, but are still fairly reasonable as long as you aren’t taking edibles or concentrates into consideration. Obviously a lot of the pros are very similar to the pros of leglalizing here, such as potentially taking millions of dollars out of the black market, but what are the cons that has Pope Francis speaking out against it?
Apparently the Roman Catholic Curch and the New Centre Right party have filed over 1,300 amendments to the bill already. Pope Francis is specifically against this issue because he still firmly sees cannnabis as a drug and a risk for addiction, two things he has adamantly spoken against many times. In 2014 Pope Francis went as far as to say that their should be no yielding or compromise on the issue. He has said other things that allude to him not being on board with legalizing cannabis because it wouldn’t solve the real problems surrounding the drug. I definitely don’t agree with that statement, but this has been one of the most progressive popes in the history of the church so maybe I’ll give him a pass. Hopefully he won’t come out with any more devisive statements about legalizing while people are voting on this issue. If Italy does legalize cannabis they would be leading the way in Europe with such progressive marijuana policies. Europe needs another country to lead the way on this issue so that we can finally start to see prohibition come to an end across the pond!