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Marijuana is legal in Malta now

Marijuana is legal in Malta now
Marijuana is legal in Malta now
Written by Harry Johnson

Under the new law, Malta’s adults will be able to legally carry up to 7 grams of cannabis without fear of arrest or having the substance confiscated.

Malta has beaten Luxembourg in becoming the first European Union state to legalize recreational marijuana use and cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal consumption.

New law decriminalizing the consumption and cultivation of the substance was approved by Malta’s parliament today.

The legislation was passed by 36 votes to 27, and now needs to be signed into law by Malta’s president.

The passage of the legislation was hailed by Equality Minister Owen Bonnici, who spearheaded the bill. Bonnici said it marked the adoption of a new “harm-reduction approach” to cannabis.

“The cannabis reform bill has just been approved at third reading stage. We are the change makers,” the minister wrote on Twitter.

Under the new law, Malta’s adults will be able to legally carry up to 7 grams of cannabis without fear of arrest or having the substance confiscated.

Those caught with a bigger stash on them, between 7 grams and 28 grams, will have to appear before an administrative tribunal rather than a criminal court.

Home cultivation of up to four cannabis plants per household will now be legal as well. The plants, however, must not be publicly visible. Moreover, people will be able to keep up to 50 grams of dried product in their homes without fear of facing any consequences.

Smoking cannabis in public, however, remains off-limits, with offenders facing a fine of up to €235 ($266), with the penalty increasing to a maximum of €500 if the substance was smoked before minors.

Trade in cannabis remains heavily restricted as well, with pot-smokers who are unwilling or unable to grow their own having to join new “cannabis associations” to access the drug. These associations, which can be established only as non-profits by private individuals, will be able to distribute the product among their members, up to a maximum of 7 grams per day and 50 grams per month.

The legislation faced fierce criticism from the center-right opposition, some doctors, non-government organizations and the Catholic Church, with opponents warning of various possible consequences stemming from it.

Fears of turning Malta into a drug den, however, have been dismissed by the law’s sponsors, who do not believe there could be a risk of it leading to rampant cannabis abuse.

“The government is in no way urging adults to resort to cannabis use or promoting a cannabis culture. The government always urges people to make healthier choices,” Bonnici wrote.

Adoption of the legislation makes Malta the first European Union country to so drastically relax its cannabis-related restrictions. A similar plan was unveiled by Luxembourg back in October, though the relevant bill is still awaiting approval by parliament.

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About the author

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson has been the assignment editor for eTurboNews for mroe than 20 years. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is originally from Europe. He enjoys writing and covering the news.

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