The Medical Cannabis World Forum has launched at the MCC in Valletta – and from the get-go, it was clear that Malta is setting itself up to be a pioneer in this emerging, multi-billion global industry.
Between top level Maltese politicians, international business leaders, and industry experts, the MCWF is Malta’s first official foray into letting the world know just how far the island has come when it comes to medical cannabis legislation – and the speakers didn’t hold back from praising a drug that, until recently, was taboo to discuss on the Maltese islands.
Dr Miriam Dalli reiterated her support for the emerging medical cannabis industry in Malta
“I personally consider medical cannabis to be beneficial and therapeutic,” she said at the podium. “And we need to make sure medical cannabis is provided in a fair and equal manner.”
She noted how she had previously already called on the European Union to continue its research into medical cannabis, but said that more work needed to be done.
Beyond the positives, Dalli was quick to point out that doctors in Malta were still afraid to prescribe cannabis as they still haven’t fully understood the therapeutic benefits of the medicine, and said more education is needed in this sphere, to ensure everyone has the opportunity to access he medicine.
However, with the medical cannabis industry set to expand by over “700% to reach a value of $2.1 billion in the next few years”, Dr Dalli made it clear how important it was for Malta to remain as European pioneers in this field.
She also pointed out that Europe has the right climate for a cannabis industry to successfully develop, and that with time – she hoped – Malta’s legislation would equally develop. “Truly, I am glad that Malta is a trendsetter in this regard,” she ended.
Dr Deo Debattista similarly spoke in a positive and forward-looking tone.
Saying that he wasn’t going to let “red tape” stop research and development when it comes to continuing to produce medicines and new treatments as the industry expands, he also made it clear that the government would be holding a high standard of due diligence and standards from the absolute beginning of the industry in Malta.
Aside from government speakers, other experts from around the world explained how other countries were progressing
Canada has legalised both medical cannabis and recreational cannabis, and Dr Christelle Gedeon explained just how detailed Canadian legislation was.
Everything from the logo to the fonts are regulated on all cannabis products packaging, and everything from “animals to human hands” are banned from being featured on the packaging. She also noted how the health warning on medical cannabis packets, which is very prominent, is practically the same as on tobacco products – even though their effects on one’s health are very different.
Host Deepak Anand and speaker Alfredo Pascual discussed how the medical cannabis industry in South America was developing
Pascual explained how, similar to Malta, there were a number of “bottlenecks” stopping the expansion of the industry, with countries like Brazil only prescribing under a “restrictive case-by-case basis” and other countries’ doctors not ready to begin prescribing the drug.