Detailed rules for cannabis associations have been published following the major announcement that Malta will start legalising them in an upcoming reform.
Published by Reforms Minister Owen Bonnici, Bill No. 241 proposes the establishment of an Authority on the Responsible Use of Cannabis and the amendment of various cannabis-related laws.
People will be able to purchase cannabis or cannabis seeds from associations, a concept popularised by Barcelona which allows organisations to grow and prepare the plant exclusively for its members.
These are all the rules for cannabis associations, as revealed in the Bill.
• Cannabis associations must be registered with the new Cannabis Authority and obtain a permit to operate.
• Associations will operate on a non-profit basis in accordance with the rules for NGOs in the Voluntary Organisations Act.
• Associations can only distribute cannabis to its members, no-non member will be allowed on its premises.
• Cannabis containers must include distinctive marks and quality control on the plant must be carried out.
• Only a maximum of 500 members can join an association and no one can be a member of a more than one association.
• Associations cannot advertise their activities in any manner, and no signs or designs related to cannabis or the cannabis culture can be shown on their premises in a way that is visible from the outside.
• Premises cannot be located within 250m of a school, club or youth centre.
• Association operators must ensure their premises don’t cause nuisance within the community, including loitering outside the building.
• Premises must be managed in conformity with health and safety laws and regulations.
• No one younger than 18 can be a member; associations who let minors inside risk a fine of between €500 and €1,000.
• At no given moment can there be more than 500g of dried cannabis in the association’s premises.
• Associations won’t be allowed to grow more plants than the number stipulated by the Cannabis Authority and they must abide by all regulations in terms of cultivation conditions, drying and transportation set out by the Authority.
• Cannabis must be distributed to members in a sealed container, the shape of which and the words and or designs on which shall require the Authority’s approval.
• No alcoholic beverages can be sold inside the association’s premises.
• Associations must fully cooperate with any inspections conducted by the Authority from time to time, including on the quality of the cannabis.
• Every three months, associations must inform the Authority how much cannabis it distributed among their members and how many members they have, without giving out their personal details.
• Associations must keep a register of their members, including their names and copies of their identity documents.
• No member can receive more than 7g of cannabis in a day or more than 50g a month, or more than 20 cannabis seeds a month.
• Only people, and not companies, will be allowed to own cannabis associations.
Long-awaited by Malta’s cannabis community, the bill is the outcome of a white paper that the government launched earlier this year.
Bonnici has insisted that the point of this bill is to clamp down on the black market, rather than incentivise the use of cannabis.
It must now pass through the parliamentary procedure before passing into law.
Cover photo: A render of the interior of the ‘Planting Authority‘, Lovin Malta’s 2020 April Fool’s joke
Will you form part of a a cannabis association?