PN will not support cannabis legalisation: ‘law will normalise drug abuse’

Nationalist Party takes stand on recreational use of cannabis and hints at reform being Labour ‘vote-winning’ ruse

The Nationalist Party has taken its official stance on the cannabis legalisation bill, warning that it will normalise drug abuse in Malta and Gozo.

At a meeting earlier today, the Nationalist Party’s parliamentary group concluded their discussions on the recently-proposed cannabis legalisation bill.

The Party recalled positively on the 2015 legal amendments that decriminalised small amounts of cannabis for personal use. However, the PN asserted that the new bill would increase drug abuse locally while normalising drug culture.

“The Nationalist Party’s parliamentary group is not in favour of having a prevalent culture of drug abuse in this country,” it said in a statement.

“The bill as proposed by government does not give any protection and assistance to vulnerable people who easily fall addicted to drugs. It does not give any new and more effective legal tools to combat drug trafficking.”

It insisted instead that any bill on cannabis legalisation should focus on more vulnerable age groups, in particular children.

“With this bill, the Labour government is turning its back on children and their interests. The Nationalist Party believes that parliament should only legislate to strengthen Maltese society and should never be used by a political party to create a diversion on the eve of a general election.”

This is the party’s first official reaction to the cannabis reform initiated back in March with the launch of a White Paper on the drug’s legalisation.

The public consultation ended in May, with 350 submissions from organisations and individuals. But by June, the PN was still non-comittal on its cannabis stance, instead opting to see the finished bill before going public with its position.

Members of parliament will soon start discussions on the bill. With government MPs expected to vote in favour for the reform, the PN has not specified whether they will vote for or against the bill.