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Cannabis in Italy: What to expect from Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing government?

As the right-wing coalition led by Brothers of Italy's party leader Giorgia Meloni has recently won Italy's general elections, the path to legalising cannabis or decriminalising personal cultivation in Italy is likely to slow down abruptly.

Right-wing parties will likely fight back against any initiative to ease restrictions on cannabis cultivation for the personal use of cannabis to regulate any form of the legal market.

Italian right-wing parties are historically against cannabis legalisation, although their approach is more based on ideology than science-based evidence.

When right-wing parties ruled the country, they cracked down on personal consumption and adopted a harsh policy against cannabis.

Today, only medical cannabis under medical prescription is legal in Italy. Recreational cannabis is illegal, although personal use is decriminalised.

During the 2022 political campaign, almost every left-wing party included the decriminalisation or legalisation of cannabis inside its political manifesto.

However, those left-wing parties that ruled the country between 2013 and 2021 have never legalised cannabis and put cannabis policy aside from the political agenda.

The lack of representativeness of a project to legalise cannabis or decriminalise personal cultivation within the political class led cannabis activists to campaign for an abrogative referendum that would have decriminalised cannabis for personal used and allowed personal cultivation, but Italy's Constitutional court declared it inadmissible.

When the populist Five Star Movement's party and right-wing League party ruled together between 2018 and 2019, League's leader and Ministry of the Interior Matteo Salvini attempted to crack down on Italy's CBD industry.

He threatened to shut down cannabis shops that sold CBD flowers with a THC level below 0.5% in compliance with a legal loophole within the controversial hemp law entered into effect in 2017.

Meloni's new government will likely adopt a similar approach toward cannabis policy.

On the one side, it may outlaw the sale of CBD flowers by increasing controls and seizures or modifying the current cannabis law.

On the other side, the right-wing government could maintain the status quo of the current cannabis policy or even reinstate the criminalisation of personal use, although this scenario is far from happening at this moment.

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