Malta has run out of cannabis – both medicinal and the black market variety.
Whether you’ve been checking in to the online Maltese cannabis groups, tried to call your dealer recently, or felt pangs of desire when you saw that police had confiscated a handful of weed in a roadblock over the weekend, you might have realised that Malta’s estimated 40,000 cannabis users have been left with no options to access cannabis.
“So much for the medical hub of Europe,” ReLeaf president Andrew Bonello told Lovin Malta. “One of the medicinal cannabis brands, Pedanios, has been out of stock for around a month and Bedrocan, the only other alternative, has been out of stock for two or three weeks.”
“Plus, to make matters worse, the black market has been dry too…”
Warning “the system is broken,” Bonello said that Maltese patients have become “desperate” trying to access medicinal cannabis.
With their doctor’s prescriptions remaining unfulfilled, patients are turning to the black market to try and fill the gaps in their treatment.
However, the black market has been just as desperate, with memes, appeals for help and calls for protest being posted online more than ever before.
“There’s a serious need for us to stand up and get together and hold a meeting with Reforms Junior Minister Rosianne Cutajar – no one should be afraid, we are not criminals, neither are we drug dealers,” said one Maltese person online.
“We were hurting and we will continue hurting as now the medicinal is out of stock, something against human rights… patients unable to find their own medicine,” she continued.
“People are livid,” Bonello said. “So many people have contacted us, we cannot keep up. It’s pretty desperate.”
One doctor who spoke to Lovin Malta described the situation as: “pretty bad, pharmacies have been out of stock for a month.”
And Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba raised the issue weeks ago, calling for a better legislative system to ensure access to medicine for Maltese people.
ReLeaf are set to meet the Medicines Authority on Wednesday to see what can be done to make access to their prescribed medicine easier for Maltese patients – however, this is not the first time Malta’s medicinal cannabis stock ran out, with a similar situation happening in 2018.
“We are calling for more accessible prices and better availability… we can’t have medicine being out of stock in Malta,” Bonello said. “We also have a lack of diversified products in Malta provided by only two companies, and this makes it more evident than ever than cannabis users need to be given the right to grow their own plant, or be allowed to find a compassionate grower.”
Even if cannabis becomes available though, Bonello, ReLeaf, and Malta’s cannabis users are calling for a more secure, affordable and efficient system.
“Many people just want to be able to grow their own cannabis as they just cannot afford the exorbitant prices. How can a cancer patient afford €960 a month when they can’t even work?”