After Malta's Parliament said ‘yes’ to cannabis legalization last week and became the first country in Europe to legalize it, the country's President George Vella signed the bill into law this past Saturday.
Under the new law, adults 18 and older will be allowed to possess up to seven grams of cannabis and cultivate as many as four plants for personal use. Although there will not be a commercial market, non-profit cooperatives will be able to cultivate marijuana.
Meanwhile, the possession of more than seven grams but less than 28 grams by an adult will be punishable by a €50 to €100 fine with no threat of jail time or a criminal record. Minors who are found in possession of cannabis will be referred to a commission for justice for a “care plan.”
“The new law, which has as its basis the principle of harm reduction, also provides that persons who in the past have been convicted by a criminal court for a crime which now has been decriminalised, will now be able to expunge that judgment from their conduct certificate with a simple written request, without the need of filing fresh Court applications,” Owen Bonnici, Minister for Equality, Research and Innovation said in a press release.
“The entry into force of this robust legislative framework underlines this government's willingness to make bold decisions by implementing wise and unprecedented reforms in order to bring about change and social justice in the best interests of society as a whole," added Bonnici.
Ivan Grech Mintoff, leader of the political group ABBA, is collecting signatures to stop what he calls the "unwanted" Cannabis Bill. In statements reported by Times of Malta, Mintoff said: "Despite the massive show of opposition from the population, the Maltese government went against the interest of the people and legislated for more drug use. This is a dangerous measure that no other government has taken in any country."
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