ReLeaf: Individuals guilty of a minor cannabis offence should be allowed to run associations

Pro-legalisation NGO ReLeaf calls for ‘absolute transparency’ by disciplinary forces when implementing new measures related to cannabis regularization

People found guilty of minor offences related to marijuana should be allowed to run non-profit associations, NGO ReLeaf has said.

“ReLeaf wants to remind people that the purpose of the proposed legislation is to stop and address injustices suffered by people over the last 50 years,” it said. “People with court cases which did not involve grievous acts or violence, should be allowed the same opportunities to participate in this reform.”

The pro-legalization NGO was reacting to the draft bill on the regularization of cannabis presented by reforms minister Owen Bonnici.

While welcoming the bill, the NGO presented a set of recommendations and amendments which it felt were overlooked by government when drawing up the legislation.

It said the proposed Cannabis Authority should have a Cannabis Grievances Board, which will be tasked with hearing out the stories of individuals which suffered injustice and abuse due to marijuana use, and map out a way forward for remedy.

“A number of cases faced serious charges such as trafficking when they were simply sharing,” the NGO said.

The authority should also provide the cannabis organizations with free or subsidized testing centres for their products, ensuring the quality of their goods. “Microbiological testing and other methods of testing come at an added cost, which will result in added burden on the non-profit organisations.”

The NGO stressed on “absolute transparency” from disciplinary forces, proposing the implementation of new parameters on decriminalisation.

“A simple measure which can be adopted by the police is that when carrying out a roadblock for example, a weighing scale is taken with them, so that individuals are not taken to the police station for the cannabis to be weighed,” it said. “Such a measure would result in less time being wasted by the police, and the individual’s rights being respected.”

The NGO also said regulation on cultivation, where individuals can keep up to 50 grams of dried cannabis at a residence is not realistic, saying the amount should go up to 300 grams. “The proposed regulation will risk in more people being taken to court.”

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