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WATCH: Minister: I’m Convinced Some PN MPs Smoked Weed, But They Won’t Admit That

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Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri has accused PN MPs of hypocrisy, questioning why they are voting against a proposed cannabis reform when they had smoked the plant themselves.

Addressing Parliament this evening, Camilleri recounted how he was asked whether he had ever smoked weed as part of a Lovin Malta vox pop among MPs last year.

Back then, Camilleri and PL MP Rosianne Cutajar were the only two MPs who admitted to having used cannabis in the past, with the Home Affairs Minister saying he had experimented as a teenager but regretted it now.

“Maybe I was lucky that criminal action wasn’t taken against me back then as it was against other youths who weren’t so lucky,” Camilleri said in Parliament. “Ironically, these days I walk away whenever someone approaches me with a cigarette because I don’t like the smell.”

“However, when I was asked [if I ever smoked weed], I and another MP said yes but I’m convinced that not everyone had the courage to tell the truth or say what they did and didn’t do.”

“I’m convinced that this includes PN MPs, who are declaring they will vote against the reform, which is huge hypocrisy.”

“They’re coming here, totally ignoring the country’s realities and they want to make people keep suffering for making a choice [to smoke weed]. It’s not the choice I would make, but it’s the choice of an adult under strict rules. Better a regulated society than the current jungle.”

In his speech, Camilleri compared arguments that have aired against the cannabis reform with those that had been made in the past against divorce, civil unions, gay marriage, adoptions by LGBT+ couples, and the implementation of a convention to help domestic violence victims. 

“Whenever Parliament discusses these topics that impact peoples lives, you can conservative forces coming out from everywhere and using illogical arguments,” he said. “History keeps repeating itself.”

The minister drew a line between “genuine” critics of the bill and people who resort to scaremongering tactics.

“Whenever we discuss an issue related to the freedom of people to make their own private choices in the comfort of their own homes, they keep scaremongering with the Babaw instead of acknowledging reality and understanding that society has changed.”

The cannabis reform bill passed its second reading tonight, with all government MPs voting in favour and all Opposition MPs voting against. It will now move on to a committee, where MPs will discuss the finer aspects of the legislation, before passing into law in the third reading.

Reforms Minister Owen Bonnici, who is spearheading this bill, reacted by saying that Labour is “clearly the only force of change in Malta” and that he’s looking forward to a “mature” discussion at committee stage.

Cover photo: Left: Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri, Right: Opposition Leader Bernard Grech 

Do you agree with the proposed cannabis reform?

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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