A major legislative step towards making Malta a mecca of medical cannabis manufacturing has been taken after the Parliament of Malta approved the Production of Cannabis for Medicinal Use Act.
With this bill approved, companies can now become licensed to actually create medical cannabis products in Malta for sale both locally as well as abroad.
“This is the latest in a series of initiatives consistently taken by this government to boost the country’s potential and to seek innovative markets to establish new economic niches which are emerging internationally. The ultimate aim of the government is to further strengthen the local economy which every year, keeps surpassing every expectation,” said Minister for the Economy Chris Cardona.
The approval of the bill places Malta on the fast track to creating a burgeoning international cannabis industry – it comes just three weeks after the country passed a bill legalising medical cannabis.
Partit Demokratiku supported the government in approving this bill.
“Whilst the Nationalist Party has spoken against this bill, the opposition members of the Partit Demokratiku have spoken in favour of this bill since the procedures to be followed will keep to the strictest international standards to produce GMP,” said the party in a statement.
“Moreover, serious and established international operators will be involved and that such opportunities present a healthy diversification of the economy with a positive contribution to Malta’s GDP,” they said.
The Opposition voted against the bill, pointing to a lack of assurances regarding industrial cultivation of cannabis.
Nationalist MP Claudio Grech referred to a report that said the government had given MGC, an Australian pharmaceutical company, the go-ahead to operate a facility on 4000sqm of public land given to them through Malta Enterprise.
He also said that the government has signed letters of intent with some medical cannabis companies before parliament had even approved the manufacturing law.
In response to this, the Ministry for the Economy, Investment, and Small Businesses said that the reports were untrue: “It is clear that the government will prohibit cannabis cultivation on its own in such a way that is described by the article. On the other hand, flowers and flower buds in dosage forms resulting from the processing of cannabis will be permitted specifically for medicinal purposes. The activities will be carried out under GMP conditions and in line with the requirements of international institutions regulating this sector, as required by the new Maltese legislation.”
The Ministry also said that the MGC project will be allocated within a closed and secured space in the existing industrial areas of Malta Industrial Parks, near Malta Enterprise, and not the Bulebel site that was reported.
Malta Enterprise has approved six projects from Canada, Australia and Israel in recent months, with a capital investment of €40 million and the creation of more than 200 new jobs stemming from those deals.