Malta as potential cannabis leader
December 14, 2021. Malta becomes the first country in the European Union to legalize the cultivation and use of cannabis by adults for recreational purposes.
Malta became one of the few countries in Europe to do so. The new law took effect on January 1st, 2023. It permits individuals to possess up to 3 grams of dried cannabis for personal use and grow up to four plants at home. Additionally, licensed shops can now sell cannabis and related products. The legalization of cannabis in Malta is part of the country’s efforts to establish a regulated and controlled market. The Maltese government hopes that this will reduce the harm associated with the black market and improve public health outcomes.
Equality, Research and Innovation Minister Owen Bonnici said the “historic” move would keep small-scale cannabis users from facing the justice system. In addition, such a system will reduce illegal drug trafficking by setting a safe and regulated route. Adults will be able to carry up to seven grams of cannabis and grow no more than four plants at home. Importantly, it will be illegal to smoke in public places or in the presence of children. Additional provisions indicate that anyone who has more than seven grams but less than 28 grams can receive a fine up to 100 euros. The penalty for smoking in public places will be a fine of 235 euros. And those who smoke cannabis in the presence of people under the age of 18 can receive the fine up to 500 euros.
Politicans can also expect cannabis to generate new tax revenue. These money will fund drug education and rehabilitation programs. However, the legalization of cannabis has also generated some controversy and opposition. Some people were concerned about the potential health and social consequences. Critics argue that legalization will increase drug use and lead to addiction and health problems. They also claim that cannabis will increase the risk of impaired driving. What is more, government will form special associations. They will distribute marijuana or seeds for the cultivation of hemp, thus regulating purchases. Each person can only be a member of one association.
The Maltese government remains committed to these activities. They take steps to ensure that the new law is implemented effectively and responsibly. For example, the government has established a regulatory authority to oversee the production, sale, and distribution of cannabis and to enforce strict standards for quality control and labeling. There is also a support plan for minors who have been found with marijuana. They will be prescribed a care plan or treatment, as opposed to any previous arrest or criminal charges.
In conclusion, the legalization of cannabis in Malta is a significant change in the country’s drug policies. It also represents an experiment in the regulation of the cannabis market. Whether it will be a success, it is a significant step forward in the ongoing debate about the future of drug policy in the continent.