In 2016, cannabis remains illegal in most places around the world. According to statistics, someone gets arrested for marijuana possession every minute in the United States alone. The American Civil Liberties Union estimates that excluding adjudication or detainment costs, the average cannabis-related arrest costs around $750. In 2014 there were 620,000 marijuana arrests in the U.S. which means that law enforcement spent nearly half a billion dollars ($465,000,000) just arresting cannabis users in that year alone.
While there are non-profit organizations such as L.E.A.P. (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) who continue to fight the war on drugs, arrests continue until laws are changed.
I believe that an intelligent legalization of soft drugs can avoid the worst damage to those that come into contact with areas of criminality...
There is currently no Italian chapter of L.E.A.P. but Felice Romani, spokesperson for SIULP (Sindacato Italiano Uniterio Lavoratori Polizia), Italy's largest police union recently announced the organization's support of cannabis legalization. Romani says that legalization would help alleviate the crime that comes with the cannabis black market as well as allow for safe regulation of cannabis and cannabis products by testing for pesticides and other pollutants.
The announcement comes only about a month after National Anti-Mafia Directorate Raffaele Cantone announced support for cannabis legalization as a tactic to combat the mafia which profits from black market cannabis sales.
According to Cantone; “I believe that an intelligent legalization of soft drugs can avoid the worst damage to those that come into contact with areas of criminality...until recently I was absolutely opposed to the idea of legalization because they convinced me that drugs are an insignificant part of the profits of organized crime. Now I have changed positions.”
With Italian lawmakers currently discussing details legalization of recreational cannabis, these recent announcements are further evidence of the shift in attitude toward cannabis reform in Italy. Small amounts of cannabis have already been decriminalized in the country and medical cannabis is legal for patients with a valid prescription from their physician. Currently, even the Italian Army assists in the country's medical cannabis program by growing crops to help keep costs down for patients.