Italy: Demonstration in Rome against new drug law


On Saturday 21 February 2004, over 10,000 persons demonstrated in Rome to oppose the drug law reform, proposed by deputy prime minister, Gianfranco Fini, that the government is seeking to introduce and is due to come under parliamentary scrutiny. The "Street Parade" saw the participation of political parties, social organisations, students, teachers and social centres, as well as social workers who work in public drug therapy centres. The draft of the new law was agreed by Parliament on 13 November 2003, and seeks to eliminate the distinction between "hard" and "soft" drugs, criminalise consumption, making it punishable with prison sentences and increasing the role of private drug therapy clinics in rehabilitation. The low thresholds that it introduces for possession to be considered a crime threaten to criminalise all drug users at a stroke. The proposed law also extends the use of administrative sanctions for "non serious" offences, such as the confiscation of passports for up to a year, and of motor vehicles. The demonstration's slogan was "Right or wrong, it shouldn't be a crime".

see: Italy: New drugs law heralds the mass criminalisation of drug users: Briefing paper (4,000 words) Briefing paper (pdf)

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