If you’re over 18 you can carry a bit of cannabis on you and also smoke it. But where and how much, exactly?
Through a law passed at the end of 2021 in Malta, adults can grow cannabis at home, be part of a harm reduction association (cannabis club), and carry small amounts for personal consumption legally.
That being said, the drug isn’t completely decriminalised, which means that if you are uncertain about the law, you could end up in a pickle.
As they say in the legal world- ignorantia juris non excusat (ignorance of the law is no excuse).
In collaboration with Aġenzija Sedqa, Lovin Malta took to the Quad Central in Mrieħel to test people’s knowledge on Malta’s Cannabis law, and from the answers it seems as though not everyone is very knowledgable on the topic.
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Most people didn’t know that you can carry up to seven grams of cannabis in public.
If someone is caught with more than the seven grams threshold in their possession, they will be liable to paying a fine.
Consumption of cannabis should be limited to private spaces only and smoking cannabis in public places can lead to a monetary fine.
Similarly, consuming the drug in the presence of a minor is illegal.
When people were asked whether they think that cannabis is more dangerous than alcohol, most replied that both have risks if they are “abused of”.
One particular individual admitted to feeling “more relaxed” when “smoking a joint”, saying that he just laughs and has “munchies”.
Another replied that if cannabis is used for medical purposes, he “definitely” believes that it is safer to consume than alcohol.
The reality is that while both carry their own hazards, cannabis comes with fewer risks in terms of overdose and toxicity.
Alcohol is associated with a range of social problems, including violence, child neglect and abuse, and absenteeism in the workplace.
Although cannabis has been associated with certain social issues, its overall social impact is perceived by some researchers to be less than that of alcohol, especially with regards to violence and risks while driving. As seen in this article and this article by the National Institutes of Health.
Some of the risks associated with marijuana use, include driving under the influence and the potential development of underlying mental health conditions as a result of cannabis consumption. This is were harm reduction comes in.
When asked about the concept of ‘harm reduction’, no one knew what the phrase entailed.
Harm reduction refers to the policies, programmes and practices that aim to minimise the negative health, social and legal impacts associated with drug use, drug policies and drug laws. It is grounded in justice and human rights, and essentially focuses on positive change by fostering a judgement-free environment for individuals without coercion and discrimination.