Rome mayor supports decriminalising marijuana

Marino calls for reform of drug laws

The mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, advocated the decriminalising of marijuana while speaking at the eighth annual conference of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy in the capital on 21 May.

Marino said he was “in favour of the possibility of the liberalisation of cannabis for medical or personal use” and that it was time to relaunch a national and international debate on reforming drug laws in order to fight organised crime. "Decriminalisation of marijuana must be considered a starting point, because the years of prohibition have not brought any results in the prevention of a dramatic increase in drug use," the mayor is quoted as saying by ANSA.

Marino's remarks caused controversy among local opposition politicians, with Giuseppe Cangemi of the centre-right Nuovo Centrodestra telling Il Messaggero newspaper that the mayor should concentrate on "real emergencies" facing the capital, such as refuse disposal, giant potholes, drug dealers outside schools, illegal hawkers and violent nightlife.

The Italian parliament recently approved a law that reclassifies marijuana as a soft rather than a hard drug, with lighter penalties for offenders.