Europe: Malta will this week become the first European country to legalise the cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal use, pipping Luxembourg to the post, as the continent undergoes a wave of change to its drug laws.
The legislation, expected to pass through the Maltese parliament in a vote today, will also let those who are 18-and-over to possess up to seven grams of cannabis (about a quarter of an ounce).
It will also permit people to grow up to four cannabis plants at their homes, but it must be out of sight of the public.Beyond allowing people to grow plants at home, albeit out of sight of the public, it will be legal for non-profit cannabis clubs to cultivate the drug for distribution among their members, similar to organisations tolerated in Spain and the Netherlands.
Speaking to Malta Today, minister for equality Owen Bonnici said: "We want to reduce the suffering, humiliation and deprivation of other rights that many cannabis users have experienced when they have been subjected to arrest and judicial proceedings on possession of small amounts."
However, Malta's opposition Nationalist Party was critical of the move.
The move by Malta, the EU’s smallest member state, is likely to be followed by reform across Europe in 2022.
Germany recently announced a move to establish a legally regulated market, following announcements from the governments of Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. A referendum in Italy is planned, while Canada, Mexico and 18 US states have already enacted similar legislation.
The Netherlands is possibly the European country most associated with a relaxed attitude toward the use of cannabis. However, possession and trade are technically illegal there. T
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