د . إAEDSRر . س

WATCH: ‘PN Won’t Be Booed After Cannabis Vote And We Didn’t Ignore Maltese Users’

Article Featured Image

Nationalist MP Claudette Buttigieg has said she doesn’t expect cannabis advocates to boo PN MPs following the upcoming weed reform vote and insisted the party’s decision to oppose the bill doesn’t mean they’re ignoring cannabis users.

Interviewed by Lovin Malta, Buttigieg was asked whether she expects a repeat of the scenes outside Parliament in 2014 when a crowd booed PN MPs for abstaining on a bill to introduce civil unions.

“I think the LGBT and civil union issue was completely different to this one,” she responded.

“That was about civil rights and here we’re not talking about rights. Rights when it comes to a civil union are a completely different issue.”

“The minister himself said it isn’t about a right, because that ‘right’ [to use cannabis] doesn’t exist per se while the right to love someone is completely different. I hope we’re not putting them on the same level.”

“But that being said, I really don’t think we’ll be booed on this one, definitely not with the same volume we had on the other one, which was heartbreaking for me.”

“I walked out with tears in my eyes that day but I form part of a group of people and at the end of the day I have to respect what the whole team does. I’m part of a team and this is not about individuals going out and acting the hero.”

“Throughout all these years, I’ve always said that my position would ideally have been in favour but the team took a stand and I followed that and I’m part of that team.”

She said that the PN’s vote in favour of the 2015 drug decriminalisation law shows that it isn’t ignoring cannabis users and that, if anything, the law should be tweaked to stop police arresting people for smoking a joint.

“I completely disagree with the famous Valentine’s Day case,” she said, referring to the way police arrested a young couple for smoking weed in their hotel room earlier this year.

“Someone wanted to make a show out of them, and it gives a bad name to police, to users and to the fact that we passed a law where that wasn’t supposed to happen.”

Buttigieg also refuted suggestions that the PN was betraying cannabis users, including those who traditionally support the Nationalist Party, by opposing the reform.

“I’d like to think that all cannabis users understand that we’re not just talking about them being users and them being OK,” she said. “Not every user is OK and I’ve seen friends of mine end up really badly because of cannabis. They are not the majority.”

“Especially when I lived abroad, when I used to be a singer in Berlin, I have tons of stories of cannabis users who ended up really, really badly. They had other things and issues in their lives and cannabis use just made it worse, but I cannot just ignore the fact that there are people who aren’t like the majority.” 

However, while acknowledging that the majority of cannabis users don’t encounter problems, she said the law should take the considerations of minorities into account.   

“It’s about doing things for the greater good. I hate using that phrase because it sounds so pompous but there are people who need help, while the majority don’t.”

The landmark bill, which now only needs one final parliamentary vote to pass into law, will allow NGOs to set up cannabis associations and people to grow up to four plants at home. 

People will be able to carry up to seven grams of cannabis on their person with the police unable to arrest or interrogate them unless they have a reasonable suspicion that trafficking is involved.

A new Authority on the Responsible Use of Cannabis will be set up and people convicted of cannabis-related crimes that are no longer criminal will be able to get these details expunged from their criminal record.

Do you agree with the upcoming cannabis reform? 

READ NEXT: Motorcyclist Fighting For His Life After Early Morning Crash In Mosta

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]

You may also love

View All