That's not oregano: Italy could be the next to legalize pot

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A group of 60 lawmakers in Italy joined forces on Monday to draft a proposal to legalize marijuana.


The leader of the effort, Sen. Benedetto Della Vedova, told the Italian wire service ANSA that "in view of the failure of prohibitionism" the group would develop legislation to regulate weed and take profits away from organized crime.

Many European countries, including Italy, have decriminalized marijuana, but none have legalized the drug. Even in the Netherlands, with its legendary cannabis cafes, weed is technically illegal.

If Italy passes a law to legalize pot, it will join a very small club of countries to do so. Uruguay approved the drug in late 2013 and Jamaica recently allowed marijuana to be used for medical, therapeutic and religious purposes.

We still have one question, though: will there be weed-infused gelato?

The rise of marijuana media

Now that marijuana is becoming more and more accepted, it seems like every news company wants to cover the weed beat.

In an article published on Tuesday, Fortune points out that lots of media outlets want to cover cannabis. The Denver Post has The Cannabist and several other outlets are testing the (bong) waters. Of course, Fusion has this daily roundup and its own cannabis correspondent, Ryan Nerz.

Any why not? The marijuana market in the U.S. grew by 74 percent last year to $2.7 billion, according to ArcView Group, a venture capital firm. Plus, writing about marijuana is kind of living the dream — we've come so far from the back of the 7-Eleven, haven't we?


One of the more interesting projects, according to Fortune, is a print magazine from the San Francisco Examiner, called the SF Evergreen. The first issue, which premiered last month, had advertisements from area dispensaries and included a comic featuring a stoner dinosaur named Budzilla.


“We’re not designing this just for pot-smokers,” publisher Ari Spanier told Fortune.

Marijuana growing isn't very green

People who grow marijuana at home know this already: indoor grows suck up a lot of power.


But there's a greater worry aside from a hefty electricity bill. With marijuana becoming legal in more and more states (either for recreational or medical use), there's a concern that the power needed to cultivate the plant could have a serious environmental impact.

The Washington Post cites one particularly startling statistic in an article about the topic: indoor marijuana grow operations use $6 billion in electricity each year — 1 percent of the total amount of electricity used in the U.S.


Gina Warren, a professor at the Texas A&M University School of Law, wrote a soon-to-be-published paper on the subject. She suggests that marijuana-industry regulations be drafted to account for energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

"State and local policymakers have a unique opportunity to incorporate energy usage and climate assessments into their state marijuana licensing fees," she told The Washington Post.


Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.