Strange goings on in Italy where in the space of a week the Supreme Court ruled growing small amounts of cannabis at home is legal, only for the head of the country’s senate to block legislation permitting sale of a weaker form of marijuana days later.

Towards the end of December, Italy’s Supreme Court ruled growing small quantities of cannabis at home for private usage is legal, following a case brought by a citizen.

The court declared the crime of growing narcotic drugs should exclude “small amounts grown domestically for the exclusive use of the grower”.

No further information was made public and a full is not likely to be made for months. The court did not expand on what “small-scale” cultivation constitutes, however in this case, the individual had two plants. 

“The court has opened the way, now it’s up to us,” Matteo Mantero, a senator from the co-ruling 5-Star Movement told media.

Mantero presented an amendment to the 2020 budget calling for legalisation and regulation of domestic cannabis use but it was later ruled inadmissible by the senate speaker from Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative Forza Italia party, Maria Elisabetta Casellati.

“If you think this measure is so important for the majority, then propose a bill,” Casellati told members of the Five Star Movement, which rules in a coalition with the centre-left Democratic Party.

Casellati said the decision, which is final and cannot be appealed, was not political.

Parliament had initially approved an amendment to the 2020 budget in December, permitting the legalisation of cannabis products containing less than 0.5 percent of the psychoactive compound THC. 

‘Cannabis light’ as it is billed, has become a political football in Italy with the previous regime promising to ban it and close shops that sold the popular substance that has emerged from a legal loophole.

However, lobbying by hemp farmers and retailers had forced a rethink from the more liberal administration that has taken over in Italy.

In May 2019, Italy’s Cassation Court ruled the sale of such cannabis product was illegal, but promised further guidance was to come. The judgment was not binding and the government was not obliged to follow the ruling.