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Reforms Secretary Promises Malta’s Cannabis Users A ‘Harm Reduction Mechanism’

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Parliamentary secretary for reforms Julia Farrugia Portelli has said she is committed to introducing a “harm reduction mechanism” for cannabis users after she faced flak for her scepticism about legalising plant for recreational purposes. 

“At the start of the legislature, I appointed an inter-ministerial committee and there was unanimous agreement that we should start off with an educational campaign (that started this year) followed by work on a model based on a harm-reduction mechanism which can be used by adults who still want to use cannabis,” Farrugia Portelli said.

Biex inkunu ċari u nevitaw tgħawwiġ tal-fatti:1. Manifest elettorali qiegħed hemm biex ikun rispettat u mwettaq….

Posted by Julia Farrugia Portelli on Thursday, September 19, 2019

The parliamentary secretary, who has been entrusted with cannabis reform, faced some criticism this afternoon after she said in an interview that she disagrees with how the Labour Party had referred to ‘recreational cannabis’ in its 2017 electoral manifesto.

The manifesto proposed a national debate on the legalisation of recreational cannabis, an issue Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has already come out in support of.

Farrugia Portelli played down concerns that she intends to overrule the manifesto, stating it is her job to see it through. However, she reiterated that she disagrees with the word ‘recreational’ to describe recreational cannabis and said the party could have used another word to describe the game issue.

In her interview yesterday, Farrugia Portelli explained why she doesn’t want to refer to recreational cannabis.

“We should never talk about recreational drugs. The minute we start doing so, we’ll be losing the argument of the fight against drugs and the argument that our children must be achievers,” she said.

This prompted concern whether Farrugia Portelli considers cannabis users to be non-achievers, an issue she didn’t address in her post.

READ NEXT: Labour Party CEO Sounds Warning To Parliamentary Secretary After Cannabis Criticism

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