Malta, Parliament starts debating cultivation cannabis for personal use
VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Maltese Parliament started debating a long-awaited law reforming the use of cannabis. While both the Labour government and the Nationalist opposition agree on harm reduction and on the need not to prosecute simple possession of cannabis, they disagree on the approach.
The drafted law includes “the limited decriminalisation of certain cannabis related activities for the purpose of allowing for a balance between individual freedom in the limited and responsible personal use of cannabis and other social requirements”.
Under the 2015 law, those in possession of up to 3.5g of cannabis no longer appear in court; instead, they appear before a Justice Commissioner and face fines from 50-100. However, they may still be detained by the police for up to 48 hours to obtain information related to drug trafficking. The proposed bill would keep this regime in place, but only for those found to be in possession of 7-28g of cannabis. The possession of up to 7g would no longer be considered an offence, as long as there is no “reasonable suspicion of trafficking,” and the drugs are not to be confiscated.
But the proposted law also paves the way for the legal supply of cannabis, in what the Maltese government is describing as the crux of the proposed law. This would take place through non-profit organisations which cannabis users can join, and in which members may cultivate cannabis exclusively for the group. Each member can receive no more than 7g of cannabis in a single day, and no more than 50g of the drug in a month. Individuals can also cultivate up to 4 cannabis plants for personal use, subject to certain restrictions.
The government is arguing that the aim of the reform is harm reduction, and that the principle motivation is that cannabis users should not face disproportionate penalties while killing the illicit cannabis trade which will cause a blow to the drug traffickers involved.
However, the Opposition declared that it will vote against the proposed law because it encourages the normalising of cannabis use which can create serious difficulties in the Maltese society.