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The war on marijuana also claims non-smoking casualties

19 5 28

Reportage. Overcrowded prisons, clogged courts and millionaire mafia bosses are the (non-collateral) effects of prohibition.

written by Giansandro Merli

Topic Italy

September 24, 2021

One afternoon in March, five years ago, Marco (not his real name) went into an antique dealer’s shop to meet a worker who was supposed to fix some antique furniture for him. He came out several hours later, surrounded by four carabinieri. The officers, who were keeping an eye on the shop in the centre of Rome, raided it while he, the antique dealer, the worker and another person were inside. They found some jars with a few grams of marijuana in storage. All the customers were subjected to home searches.

“I had four marijuana plants,” says Marco, 63 years old, with a background in Egypt serving the Italian government. The agents found plants in a second house and other modest amounts of substances, for a total of about 130 grams. They all went under house arrest, and the following day they were sentenced to expedited judgment. The first-level court sentenced them to 2 years and 9 months for conspiracy to distribute. “I grew it to avoid fueling the criminal market, and now they say I’m a drug dealer. These trials ruin your life, they turn you into an outcast: in the world of work, politics, in front of your own children,” says Marco.

Roberto had the carabinieri enter his house on March 14, on the same Via Prenestina in Rome. “Someone had reported a strange smell that was felt from the street,” says the young man, 36 years old, a cook and anthropologist. In his room they discovered 28........

© Il Manifesto Global

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