Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Decriminalize cannabis to fight ISIS, top Italian prosecutor says

Decriminalizing marijuana would hurt Daesh, Italian mafia, prosecutor says - Daily Sabah - Reuters:

April 18, 2016 - "Decriminalizing cannabis sales would strike a blow against Daesh terrorists and Italian mobsters who, according to ongoing investigations, are smuggling hashish together, Italy's top prosecutor told Reuters....

"In investigations whose details have not yet been made public, police have found evidence that Italian organized crime, which has long controlled most of the country's illegal drug supplies, and "suspected terrorists" in North Africa are trafficking hash together, [Franco] Roberti said.

"'Decriminalization or even legalisation would definitely be a weapon against traffickers, among whom there could be terrorists who make money off of it,' he told Reuters.

"Citing estimates by the United Nations Office on Narcotics and Crime, Roberti said that the illegal drugs trade, which includes cannabis and hash, earns more than 32 billion euros ($36.10 billion) annually for Italian organized crime....

"'International terrorism finances itself with criminal activities that are typical of the mafia, like drug trafficking, smuggling commercial goods, smuggling oil, smuggling archaeological relics and art, kidnapping for ransom, and extortion,' he said.

"Facing the huge challenges of fighting people smuggling, cocaine trafficking, and international terrorism, investigators are spending too much time and energy to combat cannabis dealers, and to little effect, said Roberti.

"'We spend a lot of resources uselessly. We have not succeeded in reducing cannabinoid trafficking. On the contrary, it's increasing,' said Roberti.... According to the most recent government data, about 3.5 million Italians between the ages of 15-64 used cannabis in 2014.

"Cannabis is much less damaging than hard or synthetic drugs, which should not be decriminalized, he said. But Italy's laws against selling or growing cannabis are severe and can lead to imprisonment.

"A bipartisan group of lawmakers proposed legalizing cannabis possession and cultivation earlier this year, but it is not supported by the leaders of any major parties."

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