[WATCH] Malta becomes first European country to legalise recreational cannabis

The Maltese parliament has approved by 36 votes to 27, the legalisation of cannabis use for recreational use

In a historic first for the country and the EU, Malta has officially legalised recreational cannabis use.

Parliament voted in favour of the cannabis reform on Tuesday afternoon, after the Opposition had called for a division during the Third Reading. The vote was carried with 36 in favour and 27 against.

The Opposition voted against the Bill.

The ground-breaking law will allow the possession of up to 7g of cannabis and the growing of four plants at home. It also provides for regulated clubs from where cannabis can be sold to registered members.

The White Paper on responsible cannabis use was published last March, and received 350 submissions from a number of NGOs and individuals.

The process was also marked by a number of U-turns by the Nationalist Party.

Opposition leader Bernard Grech had claimed ownership of a proposal for regulated cannabis clubs when government published the text of the Bill.

However, Grech was unable to convince his parliamentary group to support the Bill, and the PN came out against it.

During parliamentary discussions, Grech branded the bill an “alienation” exercise from the serious matters affecting Malta like the FATF greylisting.

However, during the committee stage, the Opposition MPs did not put forward any substantial amendments.

In a last-ditch effort, 53 organisations and individuals petitioned parliament to amend parts of the Bill, to mitigate what they claim will be the negative impact on society.

On Tuesday, former PN leader Lawrence Gonzi weighed in on the matter, pressuring his party to commit to repeal the law.