PL MEP candidate Cyrus Engerer has called for a change in law regarding the treatment of Maltese patients using medical cannabis after the authorities told a chronic pain patient he must give up his driving license if he wanted to access medical cannabis.
Lovin Malta reported that Superintendent of Health Dr Charmaine Gauci was applying pressure on Maltese doctors to have patients’ driving licenses removed if they attempt to access medical cannabis.
The issue arose after a doctor attempted to renew his patient’s permit for medical cannabis after a successful ten day trial run, whereupon Dr Gauci referred to the law, a law that is rarely – if ever – enforced in the case of drugs like valium or morphine.
This began to raise suspicions that Dr Gauci was coming down specifically hard on medical cannabis patients.
When questioned about this by Lovin Malta, Dr Gauci responded with: “all doctors who prescribe medication, in whatever form, which can hamper the ability of a person to operate machinery or drive safely are obliged to inform the Police on such prescribing for this patient. This is in terms of Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations of the Maltese legislation.”
Dr Gauci was accused by the cannabis community of not seeking the equal application of the law
And now, two MEP candidates from the Labour Party, Cyrus Engerer and Alex Saliba, have drawn a spotlight to this case that left the Maltese cannabis community reeling and feeling more prosecuted than ever.
As the government lays the groundwork for multinational companies to benefit from Malta’s new legal cannabis laws, many are getting the impression the Superintendent of Health, Charmaine Gauci, is doing her best to put obstacle after obstacle in front of any Maltese patient attempting to seek help using medical cannabis.
“Obviously, the law should be amended” – Cyrus Engerer
Cyrus Engerer recently said that “laws introduced on medical marijuana still insufficient to help those most in need. Progressive changes need to be made to benefit most vulnerable”, putting him, alongside Joseph Muscat, as one of the few politicians showing any sensitivity for the thousands of Maltese people that use cannabis and ready to speak on their behalf.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, Engerer said the government must address the situation.
“The law should be amended. We have had two anomalous cases in the past weeks. Secondly, if medical cannabis is treated as a psychotropic medicinal, why is it treated differently to other psychotropic medicinals on the market when it comes to enforcement?” he asked.
Laws introduced on medical marijuana still insufficient to help those most in need. Progressive changes need to be made to benefit most vulnerable. It’s also time to start discussing recreational use, as per manifesto. @Releafmalta @LegalizeItMalta https://t.co/6Ss6M7zLjG
— Cyrus Engerer (@engerer) August 22, 2018
“Medicinal marijuana is being treated differently to other prescription drugs” – Alex Saliba
MEP candidate Alex Saliba, who recently wrote an article on cannabis for It-Torċa, also weighed in on the controversy.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, he said that there shouldn’t be any “grey areas” in Maltese law.
“I will not go into the merits of this specific case as I do not have full access to the information about it and particularly because the story in question only speaks about one side of the story. Prima facie, it appears that the police are enforcing the law, as they should be,” he said.
“However – and this seems to be the caveat in all this – it seems that enforcement is differing between psychotropic drugs and medicinal marijuana is being treated differently to other prescription drugs that can be purchased over the counter,” he continued.
“Without yet having seen any reactions from the Superintendent of Public Health on the matter, I think that there should be no grey areas in our law on such issues. This matter should be cleared by the authorities and enforcement should be the same for all psychotropic drugs to ensure that public safety is safeguarded,” he said.