One of Malta’s leading cannabis lobby groups has called out Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms Rosianne Cutajar for not yet fulfilling her promise to legislate in favour of cannabis users.
Last 4/20, the unofficial international day dedicated to cannabis users’ rights, Cutajar delighted Malta’s thousands of cannabis users with a video message in which she pledged to work on a law that was “more sensitive” to users.
Giving shout-outs to some powerful leaders, creatives and athletes that have famously used cannabis – such as Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau, Steve Jobs and Michael Phelps – she pledged to continue working with cannabis users’ rights in mind.
However, lobby group ReLeaf questioned why nothing concrete has happened since then and took Cutajar to task for not following up her pledge with action.
“It is somewhat tragicomic that the Parliamentary Secretary for Equality and Reforms, the Hon. Rosianne Cutajar, was so eager to speak about stigma and discrimination and to ride on the PR bandwagon of cannabis consumers’ ‘celebrated anniversary’ on April 20th 2020, yet continues to delay the introduction of the much-needed legislative overhaul.”
ReLeaf warned that the decriminalisation of cannabis in 2014 didn’t do enough to protect users, with the courts sending out contradictory messages through their sentences.
In February, a man was jailed for nine months after he was caught with 7g of cannabis, but in October a different magistrate freed a man found with 118g because she was satisfied it was for his personal use.
ReLeaf called for the full decriminalisation of the adult cultivation and consumption of cannabis, the introduction of a larger quantity margin for cannabis possession, and the establishment of a government working group to develop a more comprehensive human rights-based policy for cannabis users.
“It seems that as a country we have so easily forgotten the torments and abuses sustained by Mr Daniel Holmes at the hands of the local criminal justice system, sentenced to ten years for the meagre reason of cultivating five cannabis plants,” the group said, referring to the former prisoner who recently published a book with Lovin Malta about his experience.
“Many others continue to languish in prison or await their sentence, under great psychological, financial and social stress, merely for engaging in a personal, non-violent choice of cultivating and consuming a plant.”
What do you make of ReLeaf’s criticism?