Press ‘pause button’ on cannabis bill, say Catholic organisations

In a position paper published on Tuesday, 22 church entities said the bill will ‘normalise’ drug use

File photo
File photo

22 Catholic organisations expressed “serious concerns” on a number of aspects in the proposed regulation of recreational cannabis.

The House will debate the second reading of the bill on Tuesday evening.

In a position paper, 22 church entities said they were critical of “the rush with which, at the tail end of this legislature and on the eve of a general election, parliament is being asked to pass this new law proposing radical and risky changes.”

The position paper will be tabled in the House on Tuesday.

They called on the government to “press the pause button” and put the draft on hold until a serious, independent, and researched study is carried out about the social impact of the proposals listed in the bill.

They expressed serious concern about a number of aspects proposed in the law, including the “very limited regulation” of cannabis grown in households, as well as the “weak regulation of the opening of cannabis growing associations in all towns and villages.”

“Another serious concern is the possibility of using loopholes in the proposed law to allow the use of cannabis in public, despite declarations to the contrary made in the law.”

The 22 entitles said the bill “will have a negative effect in normalising drug use while failing to protect both society and drug users.”

The 22 signatories of the position paper are: Caritas Malta, Church Homes for the Elderly, Church Schools’ Association, Dar Merħba Bik Foundation, Dar tal-Providenza, Fondazzjoni Sebħ, Justice and Peace Commission, Kummissjoni Djoċesana Djakonija, Malta Catholic Youth Network (MCYN), Mater Dei and Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre Chaplains, Millenium Chapel, Oasi Foundation, Paulo Freire Institute Foundation, Peace and Good Foundation, Secretariat for Catholic Education, Social Assistance Secretariat (SAS), Society St Vincent de Paul, SOS Malta, St Jeanne Antide Foundation, the Conference of Religious Major Superiors (KSMR), Uffiċċju Ħidma Pastorali mal-Persuni Separati and YMCA Malta.