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Bernard Grech Says He Didn’t Take Part In Cannabis Debate To Give Other MPs A Chance

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Opposition leader Bernard Grech opted against addressing the recent cannabis reform debate in Parliament, missing a golden chance to explain his position on the topic following weeks of confusion.

Questioned by Lovin Malta as to why he didn’t participate in the debate, a PN spokesperson said this decision stemmed from a desire to give other MPs a platform.

“Bernard Grech does not speak during every single parliamentary debate, so as to give a chance to other members of the parliamentary group to give their contribution,” he said. “This was also the case with the cannabis debate.”

The cannabis reform bill passed the second reading last night, with all government MPs voting in favour of it and all Opposition MPs voting against it. 

The PN parliamentary group’s decision to oppose the bill proved controversial, as Grech had given signals in favour of some kind of cannabis regulation and had even taken credit for the bill when it was published by the government. 

Although Grech and PN MPs have repeatedly insisted they don’t want cannabis users to end up in prison, they have yet to clarify exactly why they are in favour of the status quo, whereby cannabis users still get arrested by the police and charged in front of a tribunal.

Instead their interventions focused more on the potential risks of the bill – from the lack of prior studies to a perceived risk to the country’s reputation.

The bill will now be discussed by MPs at the committee stage, with Reforms Minister Owen Bonnici stating this discussion will commence next week. 

“The aim is to go through the committee stage expeditiously,” Bonnici told Lovin Malta. “We have no intention of shelving this bill or reducing the rhythm and we’ll stick with the same pace.”

Do you agree with the proposed cannabis reform? 

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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