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ROME – The Italian Minister of Health, Mrs Livia Turco, has issued a ministerial decree, “in concert with” the minister of Justice, Clemente Mastella, and “having heard” the minister of Social Solidarity, Paolo Ferrero. Since this is an administrative act, no vote of the Parliament is required.

The decree has brought from 500 milligrams to one gram the quantity of active ingredient of cannabis (Thc) which can be possessed by cannabis users without risking a criminal charge for drug dealing. The decree went into effect on November 18th, 2006.

A part of the cannabis movement was asking the government to take immediate action in order to reduce the risk for marijuana users of criminal charges under the present, “tough on drugs” law. In fact, in technical terms, the decree has been issued inside the frame of that law.

The making of a new law on illegal drugs is contained in the program of the Prodi government, so the center-left coalition has taken a precise commitment to it. However, some groups inside the center-left coalition are trying to oppose the reform, so the path toward its ratification doesn’t seem to be an easy one.