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How many Italians consume cannabis – Jacopo Ottaviani

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How many Italians consume cannabis – Jacopo Ottaviani

One in ten people in Italy has done so use of cannabis or its derivatives, according to the most recent estimates by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

The percentage of consumers rises if we analyze the bands more young of the population: a quarter of Italians between the ages of 15 and 19 said they had consumed cannabis at least once in their life (27 percent among boys, 23 percent among girls).

Of these, 1.3 percent reported using it frequently, that is, twenty or more times in a month. In 2019 there were 46 thousand infractions and crimes related to cannabis in Italy (31 thousand related to use, 15 thousand to sale).

Il market of drugs each year moves economic activities for about 16 billion euros, of which 39 per cent attributable to the consumption of cannabis and its derivatives (the equivalent of about 6.3 billion euros), according to what is reported in the parliamentary report on the use of drugs in Italy presented in 2021.

In the Istat report of October 2021 on the unobserved economy, in 2019 the spending of Italian families in illegal activities (such as drugs, prostitution and cigarette smuggling) amounted to 22 billion euros. Money absorbed largely by organized crime that manages trafficking and drug dealing, as well as the rest of the illegal activities.

Cannabis use is most prevalent in France (11 percent of the population), Spain (10.5 percent) and Italy (10 percent). The state where the least cannabis is consumed in Europa it is Hungary (1.3 per cent of the population).

By restricting the calculation to young people between the ages of 15 and 24, the percentage in Italy rises to 24 per cent (about one in four young people), below France and the Czech Republic (with 28 and 27 per cent respectively). On the other extreme are Greece and Hungary, with less than 3.5 percent of young people having used cannabis in the past year.

A research by the University of Messina has established the costs and benefits of a possible one legalization of cannabis in Italy. Projecting data from Colorado (United States) – where the substance has been legal since 2012 – on the Italian population and assuming excise duties, state and local taxes equal to 32 percent, the revenue for a population of 60 million inhabitants would be 3.26. billions of euros on a turnover of more than ten billion euros.

In addition to the tax revenue from the legal cannabis trade, there would be other savings. The researchers calculated that in one year they would save 541.67 million euros for the expenses of the prison judiciary and 228.37 million for the expenses related to police operations.

Some studies estimate that the legalization of cannabis in Italy would favor the creation of many jobs between seasonal employees on plantations and sales people, producing additional income tax revenue.

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In Italy, the possibility of legally resorting to cannabinoid drugs has existed since 2007. Since 2017 cannabis has been grown for therapeutic purposes directly by the state, at the military chemical pharmaceutical plant in Florence and under the supervision of the ministries of defense and health, with the aim of reducing imports from abroad, especially from Netherlands.

It is considered useful for the treatment of various pathologies: from anxiety to depression, but also rheumatic diseases or neuropathies. It is also effective as an appetite stimulant for those suffering from anorexia, as a pain reliever, and to soothe the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in cancer patients.

The substance is currently available in Italy in two variants: Fm1 and Fm2. The health ministry has released data on medical cannabis use for the past four years. The sale of this substance is increasing year after year, reaching 1.2 tons in 2021, with Emilia-Romagna leading the regions accounting for more than 25 percent of the total.

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