In this article we will answer a question that many ask themselves; Growing marijuana for personal use is a crime or not.
The question; to grow cannabis for personal use, is it a crime or not? It is a long-standing issue on which there is a lot of confusion even in public opinion due to the conflicting news that is spread in the press.
This confusion is none other than the result of the divergence of opinion that exists in the interpretation of the law by the courts of appeals courts as well as the supreme court of cassation.
Is growing marijuana a crime?
The doubt is widespread because many habitual users of hashish and marijuana choose the path of improper production by growing two or three cannabis plants. This is mainly for two reasons first; for health reasons, in fact, those who buy from the illegal market do not know where the product comes from or with which other substances it has been cut.
Secondly, to avoid financing the organized crime that manages drug trafficking. Let’s see what the general risk is in the case of large cannabis crops. In this case, the penalty is imprisonment for two to six years as well as a fine ranging from approximately five thousand to seventy-seven thousand euros.
If, on the other hand, the cultivation of marijuana is of a minor nature, imprisonment in prison from six months to four years and a fine ranging from about one thousand to ten thousand euros are foreseen. To understand if the fact is slight, the quantity of the narcotic substance, the means, the modalities and the circumstances of the action are evaluated.
Growing Marijuana for Personal Use: Risks a Criminal Trial?
Absolutely yes. The judgments of the courts of appeal of the supreme court of cassation do not follow a unique address as already anticipated and then because the law punishes the sale or transfer to third parties but the cultivation itself. We can distinguish three guidelines that have been adopted by the courts of appeals and by the supreme court of cassation.
The first believes that cultivation is punishable regardless of personal use from the moment of sowing. An example of this orientation is a 2016 sentence of the supreme court of cassation which states that for the purposes of the punishment of the unauthorized cultivation of plants from which narcotic substances are extractable.
This is not the case even when the absence of the active principle can be obtained immediately. In fact, it is sufficient that the shrubs are predictably capable of yielding significant quantities of product endowed with doping effects at the outcome of a physiological development. This is because cultivating is the activity that refers to the entire evolutionary cycle of the biological organism.
The second believes that the compliance of the plant with the prohibited botanical type of cannabis and therefore its aptitude to reach maturity and produce a narcotic substance is sufficient to integrate the crime of cultivation. An example of this orientation is a 2016 sentence of the supreme court of cassation which states that for the purposes of the punishment of the cultivation of plants from which narcotic substances are extractable. Offensiveness consists in its suitability to produce the substance for consumption.
These guidelines do not allow any justification of personal use because they are anchored to a literal interpretation of the law. A summary of this interpretation is a 2018 ruling which states that any unauthorized activity of cultivation of plants from which narcotic substances can be extracted is a criminal offense, even when it is carried out for the purpose of the product for personal use.
The third orientation instead refers, unlike the previous orientations, to the ability of the drug to be distributed on the market. Therefore, indirect elements of evaluation are personal use and the minimum quantity of narcotic substance that can be produced. An example of this orientation is a 2018 ruling by the supreme court of cassation.
In this example it is stated that the existence of the crime of unauthorized cultivation of plants from which narcotic substances can be obtained must be excluded if the judge ascertains the concrete harmlessness of the conduct to be of minimal entity such as to make substantially irrelevant the increase in drug availability and no prospect of any further spread of it.