Malta’s Reforms Junior Minister spoke about the ongoing discussion into the legalisation of cannabis in Malta in a recent speech, saying there is nothing wrong with an adult smoking a joint in the privacy of his own home.
“Everyone I know who goes to drink beer on a Sunday in his town’s pjazza, I don’t call them alcoholics,” Julia Farrugia Portelli said. “And in the same way, I don’t see anything wrong in those people I know from different walks of life, who, every now and then, take a joint. Of course, there’s nothing wrong for an adult to do this in private.”
Her comments came during a budget speech in parliament where the junior minister took the opportunity to discuss developments in ongoing reforms such as cannabis and prostitution.
“We pledged in our electoral manifesto that we would hold a discussion on the next steps in the use of cannabis, but as I said many times we must have a foundation that makes sense, a strong foundation,” she said.
“We should never give our children the impression that they should give in to any habit as soon as they encounter an obstacle in life,” she continued.
She thanked legalisation-skeptic group SEDQA for helping her launch a new education campaign worth €400,000 aimed at Maltese schoolchildren.
“By 2020, we will have invested in 9,000 students so that each and every one of them have the important skills of resilience,” she said.
“Now, what does that mean?” she continued. “It means when the first tumultuous period comes in your life – it can be when someone in your family dies, it can be bullying – that we don’t end up turning to substances. Once you end up in the vicious cycle, the dangers can end up being worse.”
She noted that after two years of working on the cannabis reform, her team had come up with a working harm reduction model based on the Icelandic model, which promotes art and sports to children.
“We will continue to invest in our children and offer them many different options to spend their recreational times.” she said. “But we don’t want our 9-year-olds touching any drugs, tobacco, alcohol – I want to see a generation of achievers.”