Italy: Text of the new drugs law: Chart detailing quantities of drugs to be considered a criminal offence published (1)

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The new drugs law, presented by deputy prime minister Gianfranco Fini and submitted for parliamentary scrutiny after its approval by the Cabinet on 13 November 2003 (for an in-depth analysis, see: "New drugs law heralds the mass criminalisation of drug users, February 2004), had been experiencing a difficult journey through the legislative process where it was undergoing scrutiny by the Senate, and had given rise to a strong protest movement. The main reasons for this were that it sought to do away with the distinction between 'soft' and 'hard' drugs, to turn the possession of small amounts of drugs and personal consumption into a criminal offence, to expand prison sentencing for drug-related offences, and to introduce a wide array of "administrative sanctions" and compulsory rehabilitation for drug offenders. These key aspects of the law (22 articles out of 106) were finally approved in an urgent decree which was adopted on 30 December 2005 and voted on in Parliament through an "urgent" procedure that by-passed the Senate on 7 February 2006, to introduce "urgent measures for security and the financing of the Winter Olympics". It came into force following its publication in the Official Journal on 27 February 2006.

On 4 April 2006, the charts detailing the quantities of different illegal substances whose possession is to be considered a criminal offence were published. They refer to the content of the active chemical ingredient of the different drugs, and are higher than the limits outlined in the draft charts. Fuoriluogo, an organisation working on drug issues in Italy, has published a table translating these figures into the gross weight (in grams) of substances or the number of pills/trips in their most common formats:

cannabis: 500mg of THC (around 5g of hashish or cannabis with a low THC content)
MDMA/Ecstasy: 750mg (c. 5 pills)
heroin: 250mg (c. 1.7g)
cocaine: 750mg (c. 1.6g)
LSD: 150mg (c. 3 'trips', tiny pieces of paper dipped in LSD)
amphetamine: 500mg (c. 5 pills)


The table: Limiti massimi previsti dall'art.73, co,1 bis del D.P.R. n. 309/1990, modificato dalla legge n. 49/2006 (pdf)

Full-text of the decree (Ddl Camera 7.2.2006), in Italian:

Full-text of the drugs law as amended by the decree, in Italian (changes in bold)

The translation of the 'active ingredient' amounts published in the charts into commonly used formats, by Fuoriluogo:

For further information, analysis and campaign against the drugs law:

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