A Maltese couple arrested over a joint during Valentine’s weekend will be facing a drug tribunal following police raiding their St Julian’s hotel room.
The arrest of the couple, a 21-year-old man from Ħamrun and a 19-year-old woman from Żabbar, had led to widespread criticism across Malta, from everyone to the Home Affairs Minister to leading MEPs and even some of Malta’s top singers.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, a police spokesperson explained why the couple were arrested.
“The police received information regarding possible drug trafficking and therefore proceeded to obtain a search and arrest warrant from the duty magistrate,” they said. “During the raid, officers discovered cannabis grass buds and crushers.”
The pair were then held by police and questioned, before being released.
They will now be brought in front of Malta’s drug tribunal, and not charged in court, as per Malta’s 2015 decriminalisation law.
Malta’s Junior Minister for Reforms, Rosianne Cutajar, has been working on a draft of a reform for about a year, following her predecessor Julia Farrugia Portelli making little to no progress for years.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, she said she couldn’t blame police for the arrest while calling for authorities to move forward in a fair way.
“I cannot fault our police force: they were simply doing their job,” Cutajar said. “Time and time again, I have argued in favour of a more liberal system, which acknowledges the reality that cannabis users are part of society, and should be treated as such, not as criminals.”
My team and I are currently working on a concrete reform,” she continued. “Of course, this reform is a team effort – legislative reform alone is not enough to make sure justice is done. We need to move forward in a sensitive and fair manner.”