Decriminalizing or Legalizing Pot Would Hurt ISIS, Says Italian Mafia Prosecutor


Italy’s top prosecutor told Reuters that Islamic State militants and Italy’s mafia—jointly involved in smuggling hash from North Africa—would be negatively affected by decriminalizing the sale of cannabis.

Franco Roberti, Italy’s anti-mafia and anti-terrorism chief, said police have found evidence that Italian organized crime and "suspected terrorists" in North Africa are trafficking hash together.

"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.

"Certainly ISIS controls the Libya route; it controls the coast along the Gulf of Sirte," Roberti continued, referring to Islamic State’s largest Mediterranean base outside Syria and Iraq.

Citing estimates released by the United Nations Office on Narcotics and Crime, Roberti said the illegal drug trade, which includes cannabis and hash, earns more than $36 billion annually for Italian organized crime.

According to Colorado-based analytics company IHS, Inc., the drug trade provides around seven percent of ISIS’s total revenue, which IHS places at $56 million a month.

Roberti told Reuters that his office is now investigating terrorism, along with the mafia, because they commit similar crimes.

"International terrorism finances itself with criminal activities that are typical of the mafia, like drug trafficking, smuggling commercial goods, smuggling oil, smuggling archaeological relics and art, kidnapping for ransom, and extortion," he said.

Roberti, who has been combating the mafia for more than three decades, calls pot a “soft drug,” and questioned the wisdom of wasting resources—unsuccessfully he pointed out—pursuing it.

"Is it worth using investigative energy to fight street sales of soft drugs?" he questioned.

This is an argument pot legalization advocates and other anti-prohibitionists have been making for years.

(Photo Courtesy of BestFriendsAmsterdam.com)

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