The next potential leader of the Nationalist Party has spoken out about his personal views on cannabis, users’ rights and whether they should face criminal repercussions for personal use.
When asked by Lovin Malta whether he had ever used cannabis, he said he’s never consumed any drugs, though once he did smoke a cigarette; however, the impact it had on his athleticism led him to never do so again.
On the topic of whether people who use cannabis in their lives should face criminal charges, he was clear.
“Of course not – I definitely don’t think people should be sent to prison or prosecuted in that case. And if they have a problem, you have to help them solve it, not punish them,” Grech said.
When it comes to both soft or hard drugs, and how society needs to approach them, a “good discussion” was needed, Grech said.
“I know there are differing opinions on this topic – a good discussion is needed both in or outside the party,” he said.
Grech has soared to the forefront of potential candidates who might become the next PN leader, with Grech set to face current leader Adrian Delia in a vote that will be determined by the parties paid-up members, the tesserati.
The Nationalist Party has traditionally come out hard against cannabis, with former PN potential leader Chris Said himself telling Lovin Malta that Malta shouldn’t give up on the war on drugs, though it is widely considered to have done nothing more than push the drug trade further underground and cause mass incarceration for the most vulnerable people. Adrian Delia also had very little to say on cannabis over the last three years, though legalisation activists were in contact with him.
And just this year, Reforms Parliamentary Secretary Rosianne Cutajar issued a 4/20 message to the island’s estimated 40,000 cannabis users, the first of its kind ever on the island.
Though it is early days, Grech’s statements are already more open and progressive than most of the PN’s high-ranking members.