Earlier this week, Malta’s government approved a measure to legalize cannabis, setting the nation up as the first in Europe to enact the cannabis reform measure as soon as the bill is formally autographed into law—which is anticipated to be signed within days.
Under the cannabis legislation backed by MP Owen Bonnici, adults 18 and older will be allowed to own up to seven grams of cannabis and grow up to four cannabis plants for private use. Up to 50 grams of privately cultivated cannabis could be stowed at home.
While there wouldn’t be a retail market per se, non-profit co-ops would be able to grow cannabis and distribute it to its constituent.
Owning more than seven grams but less than 28 grams of cannabis by an adult would impose a €50 (or 56.00 USD) to €100 (112.75 USD) fine minus the threat of prison time or a criminal record. Juveniles who are found in possession of cannabis would be guided to a commission for justice for a “care plan” instead of an arrest.
Cannabis organizations that would be permitted under the measure could host as many as 500 constituents and would be restricted to dispersing seven grams per day to each constituent, with a max of 50 grams per month. They could also allocate up to 20 cannabis seeds per constituent each month.
The cannabis legislation itself states its intent is aimed at “authorizing a balance between private freedom in the limited and responsible private use of cannabis and other social prerequisites.”
The vote to approve the measure passed with a final vote of 36-27 and Malta President George Vella of the Labour party is anticipated to sign the cannabis measure into law by the end of the week.
While there was discussion among legislators about whether to arrange a THC limit on cannabis products, they eventually settled against the concept because “you will be making a new market for the illicit cannabis market,” Bonnici, who acts as the government’s minister for equivalency, research, and invention, expressed. “What we ought to do is to enlighten people and inform [the people of Malta] day after day.”
Malta’s resistance National Party tried to get the government’s Petition Committee to host a hearing after presenting a series of complaints about the cannabis legalization proposal, but the panel’s chairperson rejected that request earlier this month.
The opposition leader has debated that the Labour Party Parliament bill is an effort to rally up votes by advancing the popular cannabis policy.
Malta, the smallest constituent nation of the European Union, looks to beat out several other countries in the region of Europe where cannabis legalization could soon be passed.
The heads of Germany’s new coalition administration parties proclaimed late last month that they have a formal consensus to legalize cannabis and promote more comprehensive drug policy harm reduction measurements when they take power.
In adjacent country Luxembourg, the ministers of justice and homeland security disclosed a cannabis legalization proposal earlier this fall. It will still demand a vote in the Parliament but is likely to pass. At this time, the country of Malta is focusing on cannabis legalization within a private setting. Malta’s government is expected to vote on the proposal in the quarter of 2022, and the ruling parties are friendly to the idea of cannabis reform.
In the meantime, Italian voters may get an opportunity this upcoming spring to vote on a referendum to legalize private possession and home growth of cannabis as well as ‘magic mushrooms’ or psilocybin mushrooms.
Over in the States., there are various competing cannabis legalization measures moving through U.S. Congress. A cannabis reform bill cleared the House Judiciary Committee earlier this summer.