Despite fears to the contrary #Malta’s main political opposition the National #Party has confirmed it will keep its #adult-use #cannabis legislation if it wins this year’s General #Election. In #December of 2021 Malta’s Government led by the majority Labor Party agreed to permit those over 18 to grow up to four plants at home, and carry up to 7gms on their person. In the run-up to the passing of the law the opposition National Party led by Bernard Grech decided to oppose the law on the grounds that it will ‘normalize and give rise to an increase in drug abuse’.
However, in an interview with Lovin Malta, Mr. Grech said he had no intention of repealing the law if it wins the election. “We want to keep on moving forwards. The law is there and we don’t have a problem with it remaining there.” The PN’s stance on cannabis reform has fluctuated in recent years. In #August 2020 Mr. Grech said reform should tackle how people can #purchase the plant through legal means and even took #credit for the bill when it was published. However, the party’s parliamentary group then decided to oppose the law but with the General Election scheduled for later this year, it seems as if the law is here to stay. Now, the Labour Party Minister responsible for tending prohibition, Owen Bonnici, says its #policy shift should serve as a model for other #European states to follow. Mr. Bonnici told Euronews that its new approach meant #recreational users would no longer be dragged through the courts for possession of small amounts of cannabis.
Additionally, he said that by allowing users and, eventually, non-profit organizations to grow cannabis plants and distribute it to others via cannabis associations, it will stymie the #black market and the ‘international criminal gangs’.
As a practicing lawyer, before entering #Parliament Mr. Bonnici, had first-hand experience of low-level cannabis users being dragged through the courts.
“I would be looking at them and completely at a loss about what to tell them. I heard stories of people who literally passed through #hardship because of, I don’t know, four grams of cannabis.