The Island of Malta Considers Adult-Use Cannabis

Last Friday, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of Malta said that the discussion for adult-use cannabis should no longer be postponed. Shortly thereafter, Simon Busuttil, the leader of the Nationalist Party which is the official opposition to the Prime Minister’s party, also called for a similar discussion on the topic.

The Southern European island nation and member of the European Union partially decriminalized cannabis on April 15, 2015. The country did so by instituting fines of €50-€100 for individuals caught with up to 3.5g of pot.

Now, the government is in the process of legalizing cannabis for medicinal use, and the ruling Labour government wants to take the discussion one step further. In an interview on Malta’s One TV, PM Muscat said that legalizing pot will lead to its regularization and take it out of the hands of drug traffickers. spoke with a cannabis activist on the ground about the government’s latest push to free the weed in Malta. The person who asked not to be named runs the Legalize Marijuana in Malta Facebook page.

“Cannabis was just decriminalized last year and is still being introduced medically,” they said. “I’m just trying to educate and bring true information to the people through this page. The government (neither of the parties, really) is trying to educate people through the media and in school properly.”

The activist is hopeful that something will be done but has heard “the talk” before. It’s an election year in Malta and the last time this topic came up was just before the previous election.

“The same thing was mentioned during the last election five years ago. Decriminalization took place and a white paper was made to start introducing it medically. Doctors will still only prescribe pharmaceuticals though,” they said. “I doubt very much the genuity of Malta’s politicians. The opposing party agreed so as to not lose any votes in the upcoming election next month.”

To his credit, Prime Minister Muscat’s public call for national discussion is a sign that the government understands what voters care passionately about — sensible drug reform.

Malta is an independent nation and one of the smallest countries on the planet. However, if the Maltese government is successful in legalizing adult-use cannabis for its people, it would be an enormous move for the ongoing legalization of cannabis in Europe and around the world.

Good luck, Malta!

Photo courtesy of Juan Antonio F. Segal

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