Cannabis reform 'a bold step' in promoting human rights - ReLeaf Malta

Releaf Malta described the reform as a holistic and comprehensive approach to cannabis use

ReLeaf Malta has commended government for their work on a legislative reform on cannabis use and regulation.

"The Government of Malta has taken the bold step to promote human rights and public health through concrete policy and legislative changes that focus on the private adult cultivation and consumption of cannabis in Malta," the NGO said in a statement.

It noted with satisfaction the decriminalisation of the private cultivation of plants and the replacement of a depenalised system with an administrative fine on public consuption of cannabis.

"The focus on education and the importance of designing an educational campaign based on harm reduction principles is another important development highlighting the Maltese Government's commitment and the fruition of the incessant and invaluable work of Hon. Rosianne Cutajar to promote a holistic and comprehensive approach to this social phenomenon." 

"The contents of the white paper send out a strong message in favour of promoting a non-criminalised approach for personal cannabis consumers and cultivators and is an initial encouraging first step to ensure the negative measures and human rights abuses of the past are replaced by an evidence-based system placing the health, privacy and well-being of cannabis consumers at the helm of decision making." 

Releaf Malta emphasised the importance of proportionality on the part of criminal proceedings to ensure that persons found in possession of larger amounts than what is prescribed by law, or persons involved in small scale non-violent trafficking and cultivation, are not immediately considered to be high-level or dangerous criminals.

"This would ensure the local police force resources continue to focus on the most damaging crimes to society such as domestic violence and other violent crimes."

The NGO said that a balanced and informed discussion should be encouraged among all stakeholders, including the key participation of people who consume cannabis and international experts in law and human rights.

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