MaltaToday online poll | 50% vote for decriminalisation of cannabis possession

The majority of respondents to an online poll on vote for the decriminalisation of possessing small amounts of cannabis.

Up until Saturday 12 April at 6pm, a total of 1,439 voted on MaltaToday's online poll on whether they agreed with the decriminalisation of cannabis.

Clinical director of Sedqa, Dr George Grech, had repeatedly called for a national debate on to compare the pros and cons of decriminalising cannabis.

"Prison is not giving results - it's no secret there are drugs in prison, and we have come to learn that incarceration does not work in people who are purely drug addicts," Grech had said when contacted by MaltaToday in December 2011 while clarifying that he was referring to decriminalisation and no legalisation.

Going by MaltaToday's online community, an overwhelming 715 of the 1,439 voted in favour of decriminalisation of cannabis making up 50% of the total number of votes submitted.

However, a quarter of the total readers making up a total of 360 said that tolerating cannabis would be detrimental for Maltese society on both health and criminal aspects.

Despite a number of readers disagreeing with the decriminalisation of cannabis, Grech said in some cases, this could prove to be beneficial to a country. "I was referring to simple possession cases, not trafficking. I pointed towards the example of Portugal, where all drugs, including heroin and cocaine, were decriminalised. There had been a decrease in drug use as a result."

190, or 13% of voters on the online poll, voted no to decriminalising cannabis possession but said fines should be introduced for small amounts of cannabis and not prison sentences.

The remaining 12% of readers, 174, said yes to decriminalisation but only for medicinal cannabis to be prescribed by doctors and overseen by the health division.

Legalise Cannabis Malta spokesman David Caruana said, "One political party that really backs our cause is Alternattiva Demokratika. AD strongly agrees with most of our proposals. We hope we are nearing decriminalisation of cannabis and from the looks of things it's highly likely we will, especially after hearing Minister Said's recent comments."

bil ligi kif inhi il barunijiet u min ikabara inlegali biss qed igawdi.