Two of Malta’s leading pressure groups have praised the white paper for cannabis policy reform announced earlier this week.
ReLeaf, Malta’s leading pro-cannabis legalisation movement, and pressure group Moviment Graffitti – who have also been calling for legalisation for years – said the white paper was a “welcome development” for better civil liberties in Malta.
ReLeaf welcomed the “bold step to promote human rights and public health through concrete policy and legislative changes that focus on the private adult cultivation and consumption of cannabis in Malta”.
Noting some of the key elements of the white paper – such as individual’s being able to grow up to four plants per household, carry up to seven grams on their person and the expungement of previous criminal records – they urged cannabis users in Malta to reach out to the government and give their feedback to the proposals.
The white paper is currently at a public consultation stage, meaning the government will await feedback from the general public for the next six weeks before it begins reworking the policies and moving onto the draft legal bill stage.
Moviment Graffitti noted the “shift in mentality whereby the law no longer considers cannabis users as criminals, focusing instead on the regulation of cannabis for personal cultivation and consumption”.
They hailed the proposal to allow up to four plants to be grown.
“This is a positive measure which will allow individuals to grow cannabis freely without having to depend on businesses, therefore protecting the market from excessive commercialisation,” they said.
However, they noted that while expungement was mentioned, there was no mention of what would happen to those currently serving time in prison for cannabis-related crimes.
“In view of the atrocious situation in the prisons due not only to overcrowding but also to the excessively zealous gestation of Col. Alex Dalli, the group calls for the release of such prisoners, who are victims of a delay in the reforms,” they said.
The group also called on the creation of a social equity programme, to ensure that those who have been negatively impacted by the old regime are given assistance, through education, training and job schemes, to integrate once again into society.
Moviment Graffitti also congratulated ReLeaf for their “painstaking efforts in the field” that led to this reform.
“This is further proof that pressure from civil society and citizens can bring about positive change,” the group said.
Political party ADPD, of which Alternativva Demokratika, who have also been calling for a cannabis reform for years and is part of, also welcomed the reforms.