Popular lawyer and PN candidate Joe Giglio has opened up about Malta’s questionable drug laws, saying that a “vast plurality” of people have gone through Malta’ justice system because they use cannabis.
“The situation Daniel Holmes found himself in is a result of the PN and the PL politicising drug legislation,” Giglio said during a live interview on Lovin Daily.
“Both political parties should be ashamed that Daniel Holmes and, like him, a vast plurality, had to pass through these difficult moments because both the Nationalist Party and the Labour Party decided to politicise and make a political issue out of drug legislation,” he said.
Holmes had famously spent over eight years in prison after being found with a number of cannabis saplings in his Gozo flat in 2006. Like Holmes, scores of people have had to face long imprisonments or large fines for their cannabis use.
Without naming names, Giglio referred to a scenario when a well-connected cocaine smuggler had been given a presidential pardon by the PN, which the Opposition quickly weaponised against the government. After that, it became important for parties to be seen as hard on drugs.
“Pathetically, both political parties opted to politicise drug legislation. That’s why we’re in the mess that we are in.”
As a professional lawyer, Giglio has regularly had to deal with Malta’s drug laws, including its’ cannabis legislation. Though Malta decriminalised the personal use of cannabis in 2015, Giglio believed that the law “changed little” in reality.
“The Treatment Not Imprisonment act is a hotchpotch of legislation,” he said.
“It has a high-flying title, but, in fact, it’s had to be amended various times,” he said.
He pointed out some of the errors the laws included, especially in regards to the cultivation of cannabis.
“When it came to cultivation, it stupidly provided that if you have more than one plant, then this law, which was meant to favour not imprisoning people, did not apply,” he said.
“Now, everyone knows that if you go to plant some cannabis you get some seeds, throw them in a pot, and the probability is you’re going to have more than one plant that sprouts out. This then means that the laws are not applicable to you,” he said.
And it wasn’t only these cases – he also referred to other cases involving people returning from Amsterdam, where cannabis is consumed in public coffee shops, only to be charged with importation after being found with traces of the plant on them when they return, and forced to face a mandatory prison sentence of six months.
“Do you think this is correct?” Giglio asked.