The thought of a Maltese woman facing prison for 6.5g of weed has spurred a Labour MP to call for serious changes to current laws.
Writing on Facebook following a Lovin Malta poll, Rosianne Cutajar said:
“I also don’t agree that a person should be sent to prison for six months and ruin her conduct because of 6.5g of cannabis.”
“If we really still believe that cannabis can be harmful (even though studies dispute this) than sentencing needs to focus on help and rehabilitation, not prison.”
“Today, our society (as the Lovin Malta poll shows) is open enough to recognise this – our laws and courts must adapt.”
Labour Party figure and MEP candidate Cyrus Engerer also came out swinging against the decision, saying that he feels “we are dragging our feet on this reform.”
“While we hurried on the medicinal cannabis legislation which was needed and which leaves a positive impact on the economy and on a number of people’s lives; reform on personal use seems to have stalled.”
“I remember when we protested for Daniel Holmes’ freedom, this time free Marie Claire Camilleri,” he said.
Marie Claire Camilleri was sentenced at the end of October, despite confirming that she used cannabis to deal with anxiety and that she smoked around six joints per day.
The Magistrate overseeing the case, Natasha Galea Sciberras, even agreed Marie Claire was cultivating for personal use but insisted her hands were tied because of the wording of the law.
“The law fails to distinguish between who truly deserves effective imprisonment suitably,” her judgement read.
Marie Claire’s lawyer, Joe Giglio, has launched an appeal, explaining that “people should not go to prison on account of a bad law which, as drafted, defeats the very scope for which it was intended.”
On a political level, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici has said he is looking into the case. However, having overseen the reform that left this gaping hole, it remains to be seen if, when, and how effective changes will be.
The issue is not new, having been flagged by the same magistrate, lawyers, and cannabis activists in the past, namely Franco Debono who began championing the issue about three years ago.
Hopefully, Cutajar’s position can help Marie Claire and spur on much-needed reform.
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