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Ruling against harsh drug law splits parties in Italy

PD overjoyed, as bill's co-author blames 'orchestrated campaign'

12 February, 16:47
Ruling against harsh drug law splits parties in Italy (see related) (ANSA) - Rome, February 12 - Lawmakers were split left and right Wednesday over a decision by the Constitutional Court overturning a harsh drug law that equated light drugs to class A narcotics such as heroin and cocaine. "The ruling puts the final word on one of the most absurd laws that parliament has ever passed in recent years," said Alessia Morani, an MP with the center-left Democratic Party (PD).

Her PD colleague also hailed the "useless and damaging" law being thrown out. "The law introduced heavy sanctions, including jail time for small-time dealers," said Teresa Bellanova. "It was devoid of all common sense". Meanwhile one of the law's co-authors was defiant. "(The law) went into effect at the start of 2006. Eight years later the Constitutional Court overrules parliament...on the basis of a well-orchestrated promotional campaign," said Carlo Giovanardi of the New Center Right party. He and former right-wing senator Gianfranco Fini drafted the law during the administration of then-premier Silvio Berlusconi in 2005. Berlusconi loyalist Maurizio Gasparri said the ruling Wednesday showed how "the Constitutional Court was a growing problem in this country". "It's a big mistake that risks promoting dealing and consuming drugs," he added. "It's a slap in the face to those who have worked hard over the years to rehabilitate drug addicts, and to young people who have understood that drugs lead to addiction and death".