No-one likes receiving LESA contraventions in the mail – but one person in Malta recently received more than just a regular ticket in the mail; this one was for personal use of weed.
A man was smoking a joint on his terrace in Bugibba when an officer walked by, took notice of him and informed him of the contravention he was partaking in. The fine given was for being caught with cannabis resin or a related preparation, and the ticket was sent to his house with a date to appear before a tribunal.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, Ms. Elizabeth Vassallo, the Director of Operations at LESA, explained that this wasn’t exactly a normal warden’s ticket.
“This is a ticket from the police from the drug squad, where the contravention is the simple possession of drugs,” she said. “They will need to appear at the tribunal when called, and if they admit to the contravention they must pay the fine of 50 euros due to the fact that they were caught with cannabis resin.”
In the recent past, a person caught with cannabis resin would have at least faced being arrested, and might even have been tried in criminal court as a trafficker, depending on how the arresting policeman felt that day.
But the drug law reform that occurred in 2015 stated that users caught with a small amount of cannabis would instead receive a fine – and the above fine proves that this system is now officially underway.
“This is a contravention, so it will not be written down in the person’s police conduct”
Ms. Elizabeth Vassallo, LESA Director of Operations
Local wardens are not delegated with the handling of drug-related offences, and they do not give out fines for drug use.
This ticket was given by a police officer, and not a warden. However, since it is a minor offence LESA is placed in charge of issuing the contravention as well as handling the local tribunal sittings, and not the police force.
Furthermore, “this is a contravention, so it will not be written down in the person’s police conduct,” Ms. Vassallo said.