Malta’s cannabis cultivation laws are set for an upgrade to ensure that people found growing more than one cannabis plant at home will no longer face automatic prison time.
Justice Minister Owen Bonnici said the draft law, which will be published as soon as Parliament reconvenes from its Christmas recess, will give the courts more leeway when sentencing people found growing cannabis.
Magistrates will therefore be allowed to hand out a lighter sentence than imprisonment if they are convinced that the accused is cultivating cannabis for their personal use.
Two recent cases – involving Marie Claire Camilleri and Slovakian nationals David Strba and Zdenko Klein – had kickstarted a debate on whether people found growing more than one plant should be automatically jailed.
In both cases, magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras and judge Consuelo Scerri Herrera said that their hands were tied by law and had no choice but to jail the accused for six months, the minimum sentence for cannabis cultivation currently envisaged by law