Medical cannabis companies based in Malta are set to produce and export around €1 billion worth of products over the next three years, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said during a visit to North America, with 900 new cannabis-related jobs being created on the island.
“Exportation will begin in the first quarter of next year,” Muscat said in comments to TVM. “We are estimating that exports by Year 3 of these companies will reach more than one billion euro and that 900 jobs will be made available, however, we can attract even more players in this respect.”
Muscat’s comments come at the end of a tour of New York and Canada, where he met with Maltese expats as well as American and Candian investors.
“The strongest interest we found in New York was in the financial services sector, and in DLT in the blockchain sector,” he continued. “One can note the considerable interest which is shown when we are innovative. Here in Canada, the interest is in medical cannabis, while in the US it is in blockchain.”
20 companies have already received a Letter of Intent from Malta Enterprise, the Maltese organisation handling the regulation of the medical cannabis industry in Malta. Muscat was confident that as more investment entered the country, more and more companies would be attracted to working in the country.
During his time in North America, Muscat also met up with US President Donald Trump and attended the UN General Assembly.
Though medical cannabis has been legalised in Malta, the high cost to patients, as well as strict regulations and bans on certain groups of people accessing the medicine, has made it difficult for the medicine to be taken regularly.
One patient estimated that it cost him €5,000 a year to access medical cannabis with all the extra costs included.
Even more confusingly, after rolling out access to medical cannabis, the government was, for a time, ready to enforce an antiquated law that would have forced all medical cannabis users to give up their driving license.