By Roland Sebestyén
In a historic vote, Malta’s parliament has approved a bill to allow the consumption, possession and cultivation of recreational cannabis for all adults.
According to the Times of Malta, the parliament backed the Responsible Use of Cannabis bill to make the country the first in the European Union to liberate its cannabis market.
The bill passed despite arguments from opposition parties – hand in hand with the church and other NGOs – against the change of drug policy.
President George Vella will sign the reform into law in the upcoming days to make it officially official.
What’s in the bill?
As we reported a few weeks ago, the government’s proposal would allow the consumption of recreational use, while possession, to a limited amount, will not be prohibited anymore.
At the same time, the bill was crafted to shield the public and children from cannabis use, so all those wanting to use or cultivate cannabis will need to meet a number of criteria.
For example, using cannabis in public will still be prohibited and when it comes to cultivation (for personal use, of course), the plants must not be visible from the street or other public places.
Importantly, the Maltese government is also serious about expunging the criminal records of those who have been convicted for the possession of cannabis for personal use.
While there are still some who are not happy about the change, this really progressive and historic move will allow Malta to offer a blueprint for European countries, such as Germany or Italy, on how to approach the matter.
In a statement, the NGO Releaf Malta said: “The government had moved from draconian laws to a more human rights based policy.
“Most of all, this day is important as it finally recognizes that people who consume cannabis are not criminals or irresponsible non achievers.”