Marijuana in Malta: The Maltese Cross Legalization of Cannabis Off their List

Malta has made history yet again, this time in a totally new way. After serving as a crucial naval base for most of the major early civilizations since roughly 5900 BC. On December 18th, President George Vella signed legislation legalizing the use of cannabis into law. This paved the way for Malta to become the first country in the European Union to do so. Given Malta’s location and history, the decision to legalize marijuana in Malta is extremely significant. It also has the potential to set a path for the Mediterranean area and the European Union as a whole.

Malta: A History of Leadership

Malta, perhaps the Mediterranean’s geographic center, has been inhabited since around 5900 B.C.. Its strategic location in the Mediterranean has made it a significant naval base in the past. Powerful civilizations have competed for dominance of Malta. These include the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese, Knights of St. John, French, and British, to name a few. The majority of these external influences have left their mark on the ancient culture of the country. Malta became a British colony in 1813, and the British Mediterranean Fleet used it as a shipping port and headquarters. Axis powers captured Malta during World War II, serving as a crucial Allied base for North African and Mediterranean operations. British parliament passed the Malta Independence Act of 1964. This granted Malta independence from the United Kingdom as the State of Malta, with Elizabeth II as its ruler.

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Provisions for the Legalization of Marijuana in Malta

The legalization of marijuana in Malta outlines several provisions. highlights the key provisions as:

  • Adults 18 and older will be allowed to possess up to seven grams of cannabis. They will be allowed to cultivate as many as four plants for personal use.
  • Up to 50 grams of homegrown marijuana can be stored at home.
  • While there won’t be a commercial market per se, non-profit cooperatives will be able to cultivate marijuana. They will also be able to distribute it to its members
  • Possession of over seven grams, but less than 28 grams, is punishable by a €50 to €100 fine. This is without the threat of jail time or a criminal record. (This provision applies to adults)
  • Minors found in possession of cannabis will be referred to a commission for justice for a care plan. This is in lieu of facing arrest.
  • Cannabis clubs that are authorized under the law can have as many as 500 members. They will be limited to distributing seven grams per day to each member. There is a maximum of 50 grams per month. They can also distribute up to 20 cannabis seeds per member each month.

Watch the following video from France24 for more on legalization of marijuana in Malta

How Marijuana in Malta went In Parliament

The bill was signed 36-27 in parliament. The legislation says its purpose is aimed at “allowing for a balance between individual freedom in the limited and responsible personal use of cannabis and other social requirements.” A parliamentary notice on the new law’s enactment says that MP Owen Bonnici, who serves as the country’s minister for equality, research and innovation, will be responsible for implementing it. The bill for legalizing Marijuana in Malta, officially known as the “Authority on the Responsible Use of Cannabis Act,” went into law on December 18th, 2021.

You can find the full legislation here

In Conclusion:

It was as recently as 2015 where simple possession of marijuana was an arrestable offense. Efforts for decriminalization began then. Even more recently, in 2020, the United Nations removed marijuana from its list of dangerous drugs. Now we’ve arrived at a landmark moment for the E.U., the legalization of marijuana in Malta. As marijuana is viewed through a different lens, the world at large stands to benefit from this new viewpoint. Marijuana in Malta is a new precedent; a new standard that will ideally be accepted by the rest of the world. As we continue to make progress towards understanding, countries will hopefully continue to see marijuana as beneficial, not harmful. Much like they have accepted marijuana in Malta

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