Two men charged with cannabis possession

Lawyers argue that the intention of the legislator in new drug law was not punitive 

A court has been told how police arrested 2 British gaming workers, seizing laptops and other items, over the possession of 180 grams of cannabis, as Malta moves towards decriminalisation of the drug.

Matthew Simon Gilmartin and John Connor Donnelly, both in their early 30s, were arraigned this morning before magistrate Ian Farrugia accused of importing and possession of cannabis and cannabis-based products. 

In court today, lawyers for the two men argued that it was ridiculous that the Maltese authorities are still prosecuting people for marijuana possession whilst decriminalising possession of small amounts of the drug for personal use.

The lawyers explained that the two accused had medical prescriptions for cannabis and that the drug was destined for their personal use. One of the men suffers from fibromyalgia and uses the substances to treat his condition, they said.

The men were arrested after a police search of their property turned up 180g of cannabis grass and several hemp products. In court this morning they were accused of possession of the drug, importing and cultivating it.

Lawyers Michael Sciriha, Matthew Xuereb, Lucio Sciriha and Alex Scerri Herrera defended the men. The magistrate observed that Herrera is currently assisting the drafting of the law on the recreational use of cannabis. Herrera told the court that the intentions of the legislator “were not punitive ones in these cases.”

The men entered not guilty pleas and were released on bail against deposits of €1000 each and personal guarantees of €2000 each.

Inspector Alfredo Mangion prosecuted.