Innovation Minister Owen Bonnici has been placed in charge of cannabis reform after the Prime Minister handed him the portfolio that previously belonged to Rosianne Cutajar.
Bonnici had spearheaded a drug law reform in 2015 in his tenure as Justice Minister, which partially decriminalised the simple possession of cannabis and other soft drugs.
However, it was widely criticised as not being strong enough and in fact, the government announced amendments a few years later.
Besides the crucial cannabis reform, Bonnici has also been placed in charge of civil liberties and other reforms, including prostitution reform.
“This is another opportunity to work with my colleagues for the Malta I believe in and have always believed in, a progressive Malta with people at the centre of our work,” Bonnici said.
“Civil liberties, equality and reforms remain at the heart of the government’s work and we will continue prioritising them to make Maltese society a living example of how everyone should be treated equally and given the same opportunities,” Prime Minister Robert Abela said in a brief statement.
Cutajar resigned as Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms and Equality last December in the wake of reports concerning her property dealings with Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.
Her previous portfolio was formally handed over to Bonnici today after Standards Commissioner George Hyzler found her to be in breach of ethics for failing to declare an alleged brokerage fee from the sale of a property to Fenech.