Malta is due to become the first EU country to legalise the personal use of marijuana. If approved this week by parliament, the legal reform will mean citizens can possess or grow a limited amount of cannabis at home and in private settings.
It’s widely believed that MPs in Malta will approve the bill, which is also supported by Prime Minister Robert Abela, who recently said he supports a “harm-reduction” approach to drugs and that the laws would eradicate the black market and allow for regulation of the industry.
The opposition Nationalist Party is opposed to the changes, claiming it would “normalise and increase drug use” in Malta.
However, the Prime Minister argued in parliament, “We are legislating to address a problem, with a harm reduction approach by regulating the sector so that people don’t have to resort to the black market.”
What are Malta’s proposed drug laws?
The law would be overseen and enforced by a new public body in Malta — the Authority on the Responsible Use of Cannabis.
If approved by MPs, the new law will mean all Maltese citizens aged 18 and over can legally possess up to seven grams of cannabis. They will also be permitted to grow up to four cannabis plants in their home for personal use.
Possessing more than 7 grams of cannabis will still be illegal. Citizens caught with between 7 and 28 grams will be fined up to €100.
There will be a €235 fine for using the drug in a public place and a fine of between €300 and €500 for taking it in front of children. Drug trafficking will also remain illegal.
If passed, the law will be signed into effect later this week by Malta’s President George Vella.
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