Malta moves to legalise cannabis, nears Parliament approval

Text approved in commission, final vote soon in session

01 December, 14:35

    (ANSAmed) - VALLETTA, 01 DIC - The bill that provides for the legalization of cannabis for personal use in Malta has passed the next-to-last step before final approval, with the vote in the third reading in Parliament.

    During the examination by the Parliamentary Commission, which ended Tuesday, no essential amendments were introduced and the final vote will soon be scheduled.

    The reform, commissioned by the Labour government with the declared intent to target the organised crime that controls the black market of marijuana and its derivatives, will legalize the possession of cannabis up to seven grams for adult personal use.

    The cultivation of a limited number of plants will be allowed and non-profit clubs for collective cultivation can be created.

    On the other hand, drug dealing outside the legal channels will remain a serious crime.

    Public use will not be allowed and a state authority will be established to control the supply chain to prevent part of the production from being diverted to the black market.

    The government rejected the proposal to introduce a maximum limit on the concentration of THC, advanced by the Nationalist Party, the Secretariat for Catholic Education and Caritas, explaining that any 'ceiling' would in fact be an open door to traffickers.

    "It is not true that with this law we are encouraging people to smoke cannabis," Reform Minister Owen Bonnici said in the final reply to the committee.

    "On the contrary, we will try in many ways to encourage people to make better choices and to find pleasure in other forms, such as sports, culture or volunteering. But if an adult decides to smoke cannabis, we must treat them as an adult and give them a safe channel to obtain it. We believe that this way is better than that of criminalisation".

    In this light, the law also provides for the cancellation from an individual's criminal record of all past violations for possession of small quantities for personal use. (ANSAmed).

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