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We Spoke To More Than 1,000 Maltese Cannabis Users And This Is What They Said

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In less than 48 hours, 1,197 people responded to Lovin Malta’s first recreational cannabis survey. This massive response has given a silent subsection of Malta a chance to express their thoughts, fears, and hopes for the country.

The 30 question survey covered various aspects of cannabis use in Malta. Here are some of the most notable findings about Maltese cannabis users from our survey.

1. Nearly half of Maltese cannabis users are aged 19 – 25

44.7% of the survey’s respondents were between the ages of 19 – 25. 6.9% of respondents said they were under 18, with the rest of respondents being 26 or older.

70% of respondents were male, reflecting the presumed gender difference in cannabis use. 

2. Maltese cannabis users are quite educated

Nearly 54% of our respondents had at least a University degree level of education, with just 0.3% of respondents saying that had less than a secondary level education

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3. Nearly half of users literally smoke weed everyday

48% of respondents said they smoke weed everyday. 81.2% of respondents said they smoked cannabis at least once a month, and 3.2% of respondents said they had never tried cannabis. 

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4. The main reason people said they used cannabis was ‘to relax’

Other reasons included “for fun”, to relieve “stress” or “pain”, as well as ‘for social reasons’. Respondents also pointed to it as a welcome way to end the day after a long shift at work, as well as for “calming down”.

“To engage with my creative side,” as well as “unwinding with no hangover,” were also given as reasons. 

One respondent said that “after a whole day of thinking and working I tend to adopt tunnel vision by the end of it all. One of the main reasons is to help my open mode of thinking and to reduce anxiety. I’m able to relax and destress, generally in the company of other friends. Bottom line – it’s fun and makes me happy.”

Another said “it helps me focus, since I have ADHD I find it hard to sit down and get stuff done, when I smoke I am attentive. Since I have been smoking daily I have been getting higher marks in exams and assignments, I am also more relaxed when a stressful situation arises. Thus it has improved my life drastically.”

While another said that he “used to drink a lot and had car accidents but I started dating a girl that smokes, started smoking with her, now I don’t drink or crash anymore.”

5. A quarter of respondents said they buy about 5 grams of cannabis a month

Over 11% of respondents buy over 20 grams a month, and over 15% buy just 1 gram every month. 

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6. 1 in 4 respondents said they have sold weed at some point 

71.6% of people said they had never sold weed. 18.8% said they had only sold to friends, and 8.2% of people said they had sold weed for profit.

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7. 56% of people pay €11 to €20 for a gram of cannabis

That said, there was quite a large discrepancy between prices, with 30% of people buying a gram for less than €10, and 0.8% of people buying it for €40 – €50.

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8. Many people said they feel ‘normal’ when buying cannabis in Malta

Even though it is illegal, hundreds of respondents felt fine buying cannabis on the streets of Malta. However, the second most common answer was feeling ‘scared’, following by “paranoid”, “ripped off”, and “like a criminal”.

9. Joints are by far the most popular way of consuming cannabis

94.5% of users said they consume cannabis via smoking a joint, the favourite by far. All other methods were used to a lesser degree, with water bongs being used by 20.5% of respondents, and 16.7% saying they used edibles. 

Over 75% of respondents also said that they had tried edible cannabis in some form at least once. 

10. 91.5% of respondents said that cannabis should be legalised in Malta

2.4% said that it shouldn’t be legalised, with the remainder split between “decriminalisation”, “yes, but in a restricted manner”, and “maybe”.

11. 43.2% people want to access cannabis in Malta through a coffeeshop

Though the government doesn’t seem to be thinking about implementing coffeeshops in Malta, 43.2% of respondents said that they were hoping for coffeeshops in Malta. 

A cannabis-only dispensary and growing your own both received over a fifth of respondents’ votes each, and 6.6% said they would prefer smoking clubs.

12. A large number of users started at a very young age 

A third of respondents starting smoking weed before they reached 16, with 1.4% even using cannabis at age 12 or under.

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13. The large majority of people had never grown cannabis

But judging from the amount of people who wanted to grow their own supply, this number would surely rise if the law was changed.

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14. Most people knew many other cannabis users

Most people could point to many friends who consumed cannabis. 1% of respondents said they didn’t know anyone at all who smoked cannabis.

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15. Cannabis users felt the biggest downside to consuming cannabis was “the risk of being caught by the police”

81.3% of respondents said the risk of being arrested was the biggest problem related to using cannabis in Malta. This was the most common problem among respondents, with one respondent saying that “the most dangerous side effect is a criminal record.”

The second biggest problem associated with using cannabis in Malta was the price being to expensive, according to 39.6% of respondents.

The third most common problem was increased appetite, AKA ‘the munchies’, which 26.4% of respondents were not happy with.

Health issues like loss of memory or increased paranoia were also pointed to as problems, with 15.1% and 13.6% of respondents complaining about these problems respectively.

16. Over 60% of respondents pointed to alcohol as the first drug they tried

This was followed by 21% who said cigarettes was their first, and 12.4% who said cannabis was their first. All other drugs scored near 1% or 2%, meaning alcohol, cigarettes and cannabis are the three most commonly used and socially accepted drugs in Malta. 

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17. Nearly 95% of respondents had used cannabis in the last year

87% had drunk alcohol in the last year, and 77.6% had smoked a cigarette in the past year, indicating that there were cannabis users who did not also partake in alcohol or cigarettes.

The fourth most popular drug was cocaine, which came in with 32.6%, ecstasy at 22.2%, and LSD/mushrooms at 17.3%.

18. The vast majority of users did not regret using cannabis

95.3% of users said they did not regret using cannabis, whereas 2.7% said that they did. 

One person said “I regret starting it at a young age but I don’t regret using it in general,” and a few users said that they “regret using it sometimes.” 

One respondent said they only regret it if they smoke before an “important meeting”, and another person said they would like to work towards smoking less frequently. 

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19. A lot of people were unrepentant for their cannabis use

The majority of users didn’t see a good enough reason to quit smoking cannabis, with a large number of people simple asking responding with “Why should I?” when asked why they didn’t quit. 

Some users said that it made them “a better person”, and another said “it’s become something very frequent due to the fact that most of my friends use it and it’s a very social thing (more than drinking).”

One respondent said that “because I’ve smoked and researched long enough to know that it’s a matter of business, politics and finance, it is categorically not a matter of science as has been proved over and over again.”

Another respondent said that they had “been doing it daily for decades and still feel I have better memory and health than most other people I look at and meet,” while another said “I do not think it is particularly harmful – at least not any more than a glass of wine. However, I do believe it should be consumed in moderation just like anything else.”

20. Some people explained why they ended up quitting using cannabis 

43 individuals gave reasons for stopping their cannabis use.

A couple of respondents said they had stopped because they were sold “synthetic” instead of real cannabis. 

However more people spoke about the loss of functionality related with using cannabis. One person said “it affected me really badly as I was unable to function normally. I had a bright, blurred vision, ringing in my ears and a sense that I was going to collapse.”

Other people said it made them paranoid, lazy, and caused a lack of motivation within them.

Another person pointed to a problem with self-medicating: “Maybe if I never smoked I would have other ways to relax and sleep instead of this.” 

Another said “I feel dirty and bad when consuming weed because of the unknown health effects it could possibly leave.”

One person simply said they had quit using cannabis “because I am not addicted.”

21. Many people are hopeful that cannabis would become legalised in Malta

43.8% of the surveys respondents said they believed cannabis would be legalised in Malta in the near future, whereas 12% said they didn’t think so. 

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22. Despite its illegality, Maltese people have smoked weed all over the place

From boats to schools to Castille, Maltese people have been using cannabis in many places all over the island. From Splash and Fun to the beach, people have been smoking their joints and mostly getting away with it.

23. People are still pretty scared of getting caught by the police

With 1 being ‘not scared’ and 5 being ‘very scared’, about three quarters of respondents were still feeling worried about the police catching them.

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24. And finally, many cannabis users told the authorities how they really felt about cannabis legalisation in Malta

Here are some comments that users left as feedback:

  • “Stop insulting people’s intelligence and use common sense. If people try and listen to each other and read facts rather than opinions we might start getting somewhere. Not everything illegal is wrong, the law is simply due an update. The problem can be summed up with one word – profit. But if you explain it you’re a hippie…….and the wheel keeps spinning”
  • “Cannabis truly helps people, without it I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today. I was an angry hyper person that couldn’t get through school. With it I have passed MCAST and I am almost done with my university studies. Marijuana has countless benefits, that could improve so many people’s way of life. Please don’t keep us in the past. It can only do good for you and our country”
  • “Don’t let people live in fear of a plant of the earth”
  • “This is a plant that has been used for medical, spiritual, and recreational reasons for thousands of years, and there are very few bad effects. If it doesn’t agree with you, don’t take it, but the real crime is keeping relief and cure from very sick people who need it. How can you sleep knowing you’re keeping someone who has cancer from feeling better? 
  • “1. Ma taghmel hsara lil hadd. 2. Jista jintaxxa fuqa. 3. Jigu aktar turisti biex ipejpu bhal mal Maltin imorru Amsterdam”
  • “Mental Health is still relatively misunderstood. Drugs behave as catalysts not as triggers, for the most part it is the anxiety and paranoia caused by the stresses that come with the environment around drugs. Taking away that stigma would make it easier for people to talk about their problems instead of bottling it up by being too stoned”
  • “The next step for the government cannabis legalisation after gay rights plssssss”
  • “I was caught with 1 gram of cannabis and got sent to 7 months prison loooll. Not even in Bangkok”
  • “The war on drugs is lost…”
  • “What the fuck are you waiting for to make it legal?”

Which of these statistics was the most interesting to you? Let us know in the comments below.

READ NEXT: EXCLUSIVE: Daniel Holmes, Father Locked Up For A Decade Over Five Cannabis Plants, To Release Tell-All Book

READ NEXT: Maltese Children Design Adorable Logos For New Air Malta Service

Johnathan is an award-winning Maltese journalist interested in social justice, politics, minority issues, music and food. Follow him at @supreofficialmt on Instagram, and send him news, food and music stories at [email protected]

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