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‘Weed Prohibition Has Failed’: Rosianne Cutajar Says Reform Will Allow Police To Focus On Actual Crimes

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Weed prohibition have failed and people should be discouraged from using cannabis through education rather than the long arm of the arm, Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar has argued.

Addressing Parliament this evening during a debate over the cannabis reform bill, Cutajar drew comparisons between weed and cigarettes.

“Cigarettes are legal, but that doesn’t mean everyone smokes,” she said. “People make a personal choice to smoke and we launch many educational campaigns to discourage them from smoking, but we must fight these things through education and not through fear.” 

“As an ex-teacher, I feel that the argument in favour of prohibition has failed; it’s been going on for decades and I don’t feel it ever left an effect as a number of people still kept on using these substances.”

“Just as people know that alcohol and cigarettes are harmful, as adults, they choose to consume it anyway.”

In her speech, Cutajar said that stripping police of the power to automatically arrest every cannabis user will free up precious law enforcement resources.

“As it stands, police automatically arrest people in every case of cannabis possession,” she noted.

“Even if police find you with a single joint, you must still pass through the arrest procedure.”

If the bill passes into law, police will only be able to arrest people found with 7g of cannabis or less if they have a reasonable suspicion that trafficking was involved.

Those found in possession of between 7g and 28g of cannabis will still be arrested but face proceedings in front of a drug tribunal, rather than a criminal court.

As it stands, only those found with 3.5g or under appear in front of a tribunal, which means the bill is proposing a major increase in the threshold.

Cutajar said that even lawyers with experience of drug cases in court realise that 3.5g is too conservative a threshold and that the bill will allow the police to focus their energy on crimes “that are truly problematic for society”, while also freeing up court resources and slashing court delays.

She countered claims by the Opposition that the law will be harmful for children, arguing that it is actually in the best interests of parents if this bill becomes law.

“I have no doubt that parents would rather have this peace of mind than see their children get arrested and prosecuted over a joint and end up with this on their police conduct,” she argued.

Cutajar had originally spearheaded this reform but was removed from Cabinet following an investigation by the Standards Commissioner into a property dealing with Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.

She said she is proud of the work, research and consultation she carried out behind the scenes to ensure this bill reaches Parliament, and described the proposed law as one which is “close to her heart”. 

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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