Dun Victor Grech, the 91-year-old priest who is a former Caritas director, has issued a warning that the proposed cannabis reform will open the door to people growing massive plants way beyond what the law intends.
Speaking in the latest Xarabank episode aired on Lovin Malta, Grech was adamant that proposals to allow people to cultivate up to four plants and carry up to seven grams outside does not take into consideration its consequences.
“Not all plants give the same yield, but if you grow a plant that yields 2kg, you will get 570 joints, that’s way beyond the seven that’s being proposed,” he said.
“Seven grams and four plants are too large of a quota,” he added, claiming it will allow drug dealers to circumvent police detection.
The cannabis White Paper presented by Prime Minister Robert Abela will allow people to grow up to four cannabis plants, decriminalise possession up to 7g, and set up a cannabis authority, among other things.
It has been criticised from both sides of the divide, with proponents arguing that it does not go far enough, and critics insisting it could be a pandora’s box.
Grech, who forms part of the latter, kickstarted the interview by stressing that the scope of the reform should be for people to use cannabis responsibly and not dismiss some sectors concerns that it can be a risk to a person’s physical and mental health.
“Long-term users can say they cope, but the same amount of drugs can have different effects on other people,” he said.
Grech was steadfast in saying that residents and staff members at Caritas are in favour of decriminalisation, but could not get behind the current proposal, which he says encourages use.
“People will continue to make choices without considering the consequences.” he continued.
When it came to social clubs, Grech was also against the idea, claiming that it will simply become a hotspot for youths to use drugs, claiming that 40% of minors have used drugs at least once.
The conversation then took a strange turn, with Azzopardi looking to connect the proposal with cocaine use, questioning whether such users will now want to legalise or decriminalise its use. Grech was clear that there was a distinction between the two, but warned that cannabis, in some cases, could be a gateway drug. It should be noted claims that cannabis is a gateway drug has been disproven by studies.
Do you agree with the cannabis reform?