A newly published study has revealed how Maltese youths feel about recreational cannabis, with key insights that show how one’s age, gender and even the region of Malta where one comes from impacts their view on cannabis.
The study, ‘Young People’s Views on the Use of Cannabis’, was commissioned by Aġenzija Żgħażagħ and the National Youth Council and undertaken by MISCO.
350 randomly-chosen Maltese youths between the ages of 16 and 33 answered a 10-minute questionnaire via telephone to complete the study.
Among the key findings are the insights that Maltese youths are nearly split down the middle on whether the country should legalise, how they would prefer to access cannabis if legalised, and the differences between Gozitans and Maltese people’s perception of cannabis.
KNŻ had six recommendations should cannabis be legalised in Malta.
1. Consumption of cannabis should be restricted to designated public areas, on private property and in the presence of individuals who are of the proposed age.
2. The age restriction should be no younger than 21 years.
3. The Maltese Authorities should set up an app or website with relevant and correct information on the consumption of cannabis.
4. The Ministry for Health should provide the correct information to medical professionals, whilst training them to impart the correct information to individuals who wish to consume Cannabis on a recreational basis.
5. The selling of cannabis should take place through specially licensed private providers.
6. Cultivation of cannabis plants on a personal basis should be restricted.
Beyond KNŻ’s recommendations, the study has revealed some interesting insights into how Maltese youths view cannabis.
1. 47 % of young Maltese people are in favour of legalising for recreational use, with 49 % against it
With 4% of people not responding, this shows how Maltese youths are practically split down the middle on legalisation, with just 2% more of people disagreeing with legalisation.
Women were less in favour of legalising, with women in the southern region most against legalisation.
2. 83% of young people agreed that when it comes to selling cannabis, sales should be under the same restrictions as tobacco and alcohol
The majority of youths were very much in favour of treating cannabis like tobacco and alcohol is treated.
3. 96% of people agreed that the age of access should be to people aged 18 or over
Similarly to what ReLeaf had proposed over two years ago, the majority of people believed the age of access should be over 18.
4. 83% of people agreed that young people should have access to information on cannabis
The Maltese education system is notorious for having little information on cannabis, with what is offered generally written from a conservative standpoint, so it is no surprise that many students are opting to find more balanced information online.
However, when asked where they would like to get information from, the majority of respondents still desired their educational institutions to provide them with accurate knowledge.
5. 55% of respondents said they expected to have information on “responsible recreational cannabis use” given to them by their educational institutions
The government recently rolled out a new education campaign that was billed as a cannabis education campaign aimed at 9000 students.
However, the new booklet is more focused on coping skills when it comes to bullying and peer pressure, and only mentions cannabis a couple of times briefly in the entire booklet.
Hence, it is no surprise that such a large majority would like to have more access to information.