Nationalist MP Claudio Grech has said the Opposition decided to oppose the cannabis reform bill out of a sense of “responsibility”, not a desire to be popular among the electorate.
“The PN’s position [to oppose the bill] comes from a sense of responsibility, not from a sense of popularity,” he said as Parliament continued to debate the landmark bill this evening.
“If one wants to be popular, they should go with the flow and not raise points of concern on these kinds of bills. But responsibility requires different things.”
Grech insisted that more local research and impact assessments should have been carried out in advance, referring to a study on drug addiction that the Save a Life Foundation – which he runs with his wife – recently carried out on substance abuse by children and youths.
“The PN’s position is based on our desire to reach a position that doesn’t do damage, considering the lack of evidence out there,” he said. “The most striking part of the law is the total lack of evidence surrounding it. We carry out impact assessments on all development projects, but none for this law, which can have substantial positive and negative impacts.”
Grech said that the PN doesn’t view “drug users” as criminals, but skirted away from the fact that police can currently arrest and interrogate cannabis users, with those found with 3.5g or less subject to tribunal proceedings.
However, he did criticise the proposal in the bill which intends to limit tribunal proceedings to those found within 7g and 28g of cannabis. Police will only be able to arrest people found with less than 7g of weed if they have a reasonable suspicion that trafficking was involved.
“I understand that one should observe how society evolves and reacts over time and adjust accordingly, but why is the threshold being increased by 800%, from 3.5g to 28g? This is legalisation, not decriminalisation.”
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