An upcoming cannabis reform law will allow people to buy the plant from a legal avenue, Prime Minister Robert Abela has confirmed.
“As recently as yesterday, we were actively discussing the finalisation of the bill that will be sent to Cabinet for its final approval before being published in Parliament,” Abela said when questioned by Lovin Malta at a press conference today.
“One of the points that must be addressed is this issue [where people will be able to buy cannabis from]. It wouldn’t make sense to amend the law while leaving a vacuum on what the legal source should be.”
“We still need to reach a final decision, but in principle I believe we shouldn’t create a legal basis that incentivises people to resort to the black market. Doing so would go against the spirit of the law.”
Reforms Minister Owen Bonnici has said he intends to present the cannabis reform bill when Parliament reconvenes in October.
It will be the upshot of a White Paper, published last March, which proposes that people should be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants at home and that users found in possession of up to 7g of weed will no longer be arrested or prosecuted, up from the current 3.5g limit.
Those found in possession of between 7 and 28g won’t be subject to court proceedings but will be subject to proceedings in front of a tribunal, where they can be fined between €50 and €100.
It also proposes the expungement of criminal records related to cannabis possession and the establishment of a Cannabis Authority.
Although the White Paper doesn’t state where people will be able to purchase cannabis and seeds from, the Labour Party has proposed outlets, as well as social clubs which would grow cannabis on behalf of users.
Last week, Opposition leader Bernard Grech told Lovin Malta that the cannabis reform bill should tackle how people can purchase the plant through legal means, but without giving an opinion on how this should be done.
“The leader of the Opposition and Nationalist Party Bernard Grech believes that cannabis reform should first and foremost tackle how cannabis can be purchased. Otherwise, the relaxation of laws will simply strengthen the black market and still benefit organised crime,” he said.
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