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‘It All Depends’: PN Might Actually Keep New Weed Law If It Wins Election, MP Confirms

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Despite its prohibitionist approach to the proposed cannabis liberalisation law, the Nationalist Party has not committed itself to scrapping it if elected to government.

In fact, PN MP Claudette Buttigieg said, when questioned by Reforms Minister Owen Bonnici, that the party’s stance will depend on the impact the law will have on Maltese society.

“The law will pass whether the Opposition supports it or not and strict monitoring is important,” Buttigieg said during a debate with Bonnici on TVM’s Insights on Tuesday.

“If the effect of the law isn’t so serious, then why should we remove it? However, if its effect is serious, should we keep it as it is?”

Bonnici described Buttigieg’s statement as “shocking” and “confusing”.

“She said that the law will be scrapped if there are negative effects and kept if there are positive effects. It’s total confusion, the PN was absent from the cannabis debate for months except to scare people, and when I asked that question you gave a confusing response.”

During the debate, Buttigieg insisted that the PN doesn’t want to criminalise cannabis users, noting that no one is currently imprisoned over simple possession.

However, she skirted over the current reality, whereby cannabis users still face police arrests, interrogations and court tribunal proceedings. 

She also warned the law might actually strengthen the black market, as dealers will be able to compete with cannabis associations by selling weed at cheaper prices, in the peace of mind that they can easily sell small amounts to people. 

Buttigieg didn’t point out the fact that the proposed bill allows police to arrest people found with small amounts of cannabis if they have reasonable suspicion that trafficking is involved.

Meanwhile, Bonnici said the government should “treat adults like adults” and offer them a safe and legal avenue from where to purchase cannabis. 

“The government encourage people to make other choices and we want youths to obtain satisfaction from sports, culture and arts but we must respect the choices of adults,” he said. “If they’re minors, it’s another story.”

He recounted the barrage of criticism he had received when he spearheaded the 2015 drug decriminalisation law.

“Everyone agrees with the 2015 law now, and I have no doubt the same thing will eventually happen with this law too.”

Do you agree with the proposed cannabis law? 

READ NEXT: Armed Robber Barges Into St Julian’s Shop, Points Knife At Cashier, And Makes Off With Money 

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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