A top government official in Italy is pledging to "go to war" with the country's legal cannabis dispensaries.
"From today, I'll go to war on cannabis street by street, shop by shop, neighborhood by neighborhood, city by city," said Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who is also the leader of the country's far-right ruling League Party.
The day following Salvini's announcement, at least one Italian municipality moved to execute his will. On Thursday police in the city of Macerata raided and closed three cannabis shops. Salvini has since commended the city's actions and has pledged to bring "Macerata's model" to the rest of the country.
Salvini and his supporters are responding to a limited form of cannabis legalization came to Italy back in 2016 when the government passed a law legalizing the production and sale of hemp. Recreational cannabis as we know it back here in North America is not legal for sale in Italy. Instead, the product you'll find on shelves can only contain a minuscule amount (0.2 percent) of cannabis' primary intoxicating compound, THC.
The exceedingly low strength of legal weed in Italy has led the locals to refer to the stuff largely as 'cannabis light.' Despite this and the fact that it's still not technically legal to smoke or otherwise consume the stuff once you buy it, Italy's cannabis light has exploded in recent years.
However, Salvini may be in for a fight when it comes to cracking down on legal weed sales in Italy. His party currently rules in coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. Back in January, Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio called a proposal that Italy follow in the footsteps of countries like Canada and Uruguay and implement broader legalization of the drug "a good idea."