The Chamber of Commerce has called on Parliament to address a “lack of significant improvement” in the cannabis reform Bill presented by the government, arguing that it does not provide enough detail on the associated public health risks.
Last week, Reforms Minister Owen Bonnici presented a Bill to reform Malta’s cannabis laws in Parliament. The Bill followed a whitepaper issued by the government back in April and a consultation period with stakeholders.
But while the chamber said it welcomed some form of relaxation, a number of concerns remained.
“In spite of the recommendations which the Malta Chamber published in its response to the public consultation last May, the government has not given due consideration to the issues raised, particularly those related to health and safety at the workplace as well as the right of employers to apply a zero-tolerance approach to the use of cannabis at the workplace,” the chamber said in a statement yesterday.
It described the legislation as “ambiguous” and lacking in the necessary safeguards to “curtail potential negative social and economic impact”.
Mental and psychological health should remain the priority in the government’s proposed reform, it said.
“The Malta Chamber notes that the Bill which has been tabled does not provide the necessary detail to allow for the assessment of the associated public health risks,” the Chamber said.
“Whilst there is some room for a responsible Cannabis Authority to pose reasonable requirements on the quality and safety of the legalised product, safety should be a foremost consideration for the government, and minimum acceptable standards should be included in the Bill.
“Should this Bill pass into law unamended it will allow the legalisation of cannabis products without having catered for the legal and safe supply of cannabis products through a well-regulated market.”
The chamber called on the government and the Opposition to amend the law to ensure that the legislation eventually approved is “guided by a well-researched and evidence based plan to procure cannabis seeds with safe THC levels and cannabis products free of harmful substances, for home growers and members of cannabis organisations”.
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