WATCH: Cyrus Engerer Calls For The Legalisation Of Recreational Cannabis In Malta
'Those who want to use cannabis for personal use should be able to do that without being labelled as criminals, taken to jail, or taken to court even'
Cyrus Engerer, a PL MEP candidate, has called for the legalisation of cannabis for personal use in Malta.
Asking "who would have imagined Malta would be at this stage right now" in regards to Malta's medical cannabis legislation, Engerer said it was time for the island to do the same with legislation on the recreational use of cannabis.
Cyrus Engerer called for an end to Maltese cannabis users being treated like criminals
"I hope this is not only done with medical cannabis, but I think we need to start now speaking about cannabis for personal use as well," he said in an interview with Lovin Malta.
"Some call it recreational use, we can use the term 'personal use'; at the end it is the personal, individual decision of an adult who decides what to do and what not to do, and I think this is where we are headed now, with discussions already starting on this issue as well," he said.
"It is a personal, individual decision of an adult who decides what to do and what not to do"
"It was a Labour Party manifesto promise to start discussions on it," he continued.
"Discussions have started; we’ve only been in Government for one year in this new legislature, and we have already seen the discussions starting. I think it’s a very good thing, we have another four years, and I am sure that we will continue discussing and hopefully very soon we’ll hopefully start legislating or proposing different kinds of legislation that we can introduce here in Malta," he said.
Engerer made the comments in an interview with Lovin Malta held at the Medical Cannabis World Forum in Valletta last November.
"We should make sure that whatever is being used by our citizens here is of good quality"
He noted that there were various opinions on the matter, and said there was space for all of them to be heard
"Obviously, there are many people who should give their opinions on this, and who should bring forward their thoughts on how to legislate in order to make sure that those who want to use cannabis for personal use are able to do that without being labelled as criminals, taken to jail, or taken to court even - on the use I’m saying, not trafficking - but apart from that we should also start discussing the other aspects, the economic perspective, and the safety perspective," he said.
Engerer also said that quality testing and assurances were needed to make sure Maltese people were not using sub-standard products that were causing harm. It is known that some very low quality cannabis is sold in Malta, oftentimes mixed with pieces of glass or sprayed with pesticides to weigh it down, as well as synthetic cannabis, which can be potentially fatal, being found in Malta's black market.
"We know that in our market, you can find different standards, you can say, of cannabis, and we should make sure that whatever is being used by our citizens here is of good quality in the sense that it will not harm you," he said.
Cyrus Engerer is the first major politician to publicly call for the legalisation of cannabis in Malta
Malta legalised medicinal cannabis back in March in pioneering legislation that is set to put Malta at the forefront of an emerging market worth billions in euros, as well as affording a new type of medicine to Maltese patients.
All eyes now turn to Parliamentary Secretary Julia Farrugia Portelli and John Ellul, the Chairman for the Open Debate on Cannabis Legalisation, who are leading the discussions that, many users and activists hope, will result in Malta becoming the first European nation to legalise cannabis for personal use.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has been clear on his belief that Malta needs to change its cannabis laws, saying that medical cannabis was "the future".
The local discussion comes after countries like Canada, Uruguay, and at least 10 US states have legalised cannabis for personal use, and follows the World Health Organisation recommendation that cannabis be rescheduled globally.