Malta’s courts have just delivered a landmark ruling for the island’s cannabis users, after deeming that possession of 118.64g of the plant can constitute personal use.
Fabio Ignazzitto, a 31-year-old Sicilian national who lives in St Paul’s Bay, was arrested last year after police stopped his car due to a broken headlamp, smelled cannabis, and found 118g of cannabis and eight partially smoken joints inside the vehicle.
However, Magistrate Doreen Clarke said that while this was a “not insignificant” amount of cannabis, other factors had to be taken into consideration to prove it wasn’t intended for his personal use.
She noted that the man had admitted to being a regular cannabis user, a statement corroborated by his girlfriend, who said he would smoke four or five joints a day and buy cannabis in bulk for financial reasons.
However, he has stopped smoking since his arrest, on his own initiative and without seeking any professional help.
Meanwhile, the magistrate noted that the partially smoken joints, kept in a metal container found in his car, lend credibility to this claim since there is no evidence to suggest they had been used by third parties.
The cannabis was also kept in a single bag and no other objects associated with the trafficking or sharing of the plant were found.
“In view of this and in the absence of any other evidence, the single circumstance of the amount of drugs found, in this case, does not convince the Court that those drugs were not exclusively for defendant’s personal use,” Magistrate Clarke said.
Ignazzitto was discharged on condition that he doesn’t commit another crime in the next two years, and was also made to pay €324.50 in court costs. The cannabis was also destroyed.
He was represented by Franco Debono, Marion Camilleri and Amadeus Cachia.