Residents of Malta breathed a sigh of relief when the cannabis bill was passed in Parliament, Tuesday last week. According to the Minister for equality, research, and innovation, this move will help to reduce the criminal trafficking of marijuana and at the same time, end the protracted era of prohibition and its consequences.
“Malta can be a model for harm reduction,” the minister added.
Kevin Belotti, who was imprisoned for 10 months in 2003 for growing marijuana on his property referred to this as “a great day.” Apart from serving a jail term, Mr. Belotti lost his job and was forced to sell his apartment to keep afloat. For four years, he had a 10:30 pm curfew and had to show up at a local police station on a daily basis.
Several other residents had suffered the consequences of being victims of the system. This will no longer be the case and all adults will have the liberty to grow cannabis for personal use in their personal residence. In addition, those like Mr. Belotti who have non-violent marijuana-related criminal offenses will have this expunged from their criminal records.
Not Everyone Is Happy With The New Malta Law
Not everyone was excited about the New Malta law. For example, Marica Cassar a Catholic nun expressed her fears about the harms of legalizing marijuana. According to her, this would only serve to increase the accessibility and therefore abuse of the substance.
How Much Cannabis Can You Carry in Malta?
With marijuana now legal in Malta, adults are now allowed to carry 7 grams of cannabis at a time. They are also allowed to group up to four plants in their personal residence. They can keep up to 50 grams of marijuana at home.
Malta legalized adult-use marijuana on 14th December 2021, becoming the first country of the European Union to take this bold step. The bill, which was passed by parliament is now awaiting the President’s signature as a formality.
The E.U and Marijuana
At the close of 2020, the U.N removed marijuana from its list of the most dangerous drugs. This has paved the way for more countries to move towards a more liberal approach.
The Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain have decriminalized cannabis. This means that possession of small amounts of cannabis will not attract a criminal charge. In these countries, residents may be able to access cannabis from coffee shops and social clubs. But since they have not moved to officially legalize the herb, cannabis remains a grey area and may attract civil penalties.
Earlier this year, Italy surpassed the required signatures to hold a referendum to legalize cannabis. Luxembourg and Germany are also having discussions.
Authority on the Responsible Use of Cannabis
The Maltese government established the Authority on the Responsible Use of Cannabis to regulate marijuana consumption in the country. Adult-use consumers will not be able to purchase cannabis within a radius of 250 meters from schools and youth centers.