Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar has said she’s looking forward to the upcoming parliamentary debate on cannabis reform and that the bill should be one that helps people, not destroys them.
“We worked a lot in recent months to ensure our proposals reflect and address what we were told in the public consultation,” Cutajar said. “The law should help and not destroy [people] and must be guided by a sense of justice, progress and responsibility.”
As Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms, Cutajar had spearheaded a White Paper on cannabis reform which was presented last March.
However, she lost her Cabinet job in the wake of a Standards Commissioner report which found her in breach of ethics for her role in a controversial property deal involving Yorgen Fenech, and her portfolio was subsequently handed to Owen Bonnici.
Andrew Bonello, president of the cannabis lobby group ReLeaf, has warned that Bonnici privately showed skepticism on the White Paper proposals to decriminalise cannabis possession up to 7g and allow people to grow up to four plants at home.
However, Bonnici told Lovin Malta that his meetings with Bonello were “very interesting and constructive”, that he is treating this bill as his “first priority” and that he intends to publish it shortly after Parliament reconvenes in October.
The White Paper 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, the establishment of a Cannabis Authority and an unspecified legal avenue from which users will be able to purchase cannabis and seeds.
After several people and stakeholders participated in a public consultation process, it remains to be seen whether the government will amend certain principles.
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