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Italian court strikes down harsh marijuana law

Flags of Italy and the European Union
Flags of Italy and the European Union
By Pava (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-it (], via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday Italy's constitutional court struck down a law that classified marijuana and hashish as equal to cocaine and heroin. The law was ruled "illegitimate" without any further explanation. To give you an idea of how "illegitimate" the law was, as many as 10,000 people may be released from jail as a result.

The law, passed in 2006 by Silvio Berlusconi's conservative government, raised sentences for cultivation, sale and trafficking from 2-6 years to 6-20 years. Many blame this law for Italy's overcrowded prisons, with some estimates suggesting that 40% of Italy's 62,000 prisoners are being held for drug related offenses.

"The so-called drug war as conceived in North America has been lost and it's time to return to rational rules that distinguish between substances," Franco Corleone, of the human rights group Society of Reason, told Reuters.