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Domestic Cultivation of Narcotic Substances: Legal Aspects and the Corte di Cassazione Ruling

In the legal context, the issue of domestic cultivation of narcotic substances raises significant questions. This article will explore the legal aspects related to the domestic cultivation of narcotic substances and analyze the ruling of the Corte di Cassazione that has had a significant impact on this matter.

The Case in Question and the Conviction

In a case handled by the Corte di Cassazione, an individual was convicted for both supplying narcotics to a minor and cultivating marijuana plants. The Court of Appeal considered the cultivation of marijuana plants offensive, given their advanced stage of growth. Consequently, the defendant was also convicted of the domestic cultivation of narcotic substances.

Precedents of the Corte di Cassazione

In the past, the Corte di Cassazione had addressed the issue of cultivating narcotic plants from various perspectives. In summary, some judges had emphasized that the cultivation of a narcotic plant does not automatically constitute a crime but that it is necessary to assess whether such activity can actually harm public health and fuel the illegal drug market. Other judges had stressed that the offensiveness of the conduct lies in the plant’s ability to produce narcotic substances for consumption, regardless of the quantity of immediately extractable active ingredient.

The Ruling of the Sezioni Unite

The Corte di Cassazione referred the case to the Sezioni Unite due to the contrasting jurisprudential decisions. The Sezioni Unite established that the crime of cultivating narcotic substances is viable regardless of the quantity of immediately extractable active ingredient, but it is sufficient for the plant to conform to the prescribed botanical type and have the ability, even through cultivation methods, to mature and produce narcotic substances. However, small-scale domestic cultivations, carried out with rudimentary techniques, a modest number of plants, and a quantity of product intended exclusively for the cultivator’s personal use, are excluded from criminal liability.

THC Threshold and National Legislation

The Sezioni Unite also clarified that THC percentages, as indicated by the law, do not influence the viability of the crime. The marketing of cannabis or its derivatives still constitutes a crime under d.P.R. n. 309/1990, even if the THC content is below the limits set by the law.

The Ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union

The ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) does not change the situation in Italy but raises issues concerning the marketing of Cannabidiol (CBD) in other European Union member states. The ruling focuses on safeguarding public health, while Italian law remains unchanged regarding narcotic substances.

In conclusion, domestic cultivation of narcotic substances is a complex legal area with rules and precedents that can vary. The 2019 ruling by the Corte di Cassazione established that, under certain circumstances, small-scale domestic cultivation intended solely for personal use does not constitute a crime. However, the legality or illegality of such activity depends on numerous factors, including compliance with Italian law on narcotic substances. Therefore, it is essential to consult with a specialized attorney to fully understand the legal implications of domestic cultivation of narcotic substances and to obtain specific legal advice based on one’s situation.