A mafia prosecutor in Italy suggests that, just like the mob, ISIS could be hurt financially by re-legalizing cannabis. Tell us more:
Decriminalizing cannabis sales would strike a blow against Islamic State militants and Italian mobsters who, according to ongoing investigations, are smuggling hashish together, Italy’s top prosecutor told Reuters.
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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, Roberti said.
“Decriminalization or even legalization 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. Islamic State controls just a part of the North African route, but the narcotics trade as a whole provides just under seven percent of the group’s funding, according to a report by analysis company IHS published on Monday.
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“We spend a lot of resources uselessly. We have not succeeded in reducing cannabinoid trafficking. On the contrary, it’s increasing,” said Roberti, who has been combating the mafia for more than three decades. “Is it worth using investigative energy to fight street sales of soft drugs?” he asks. 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.
In his book Roberti suggests that all of Europe, and not just Italy, should be considering a better use of investigative resources: “On decriminalization (of cannabis), there should be an Italian domestic debate, but also a European one.”
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[image: Google images “Italy”]
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