Limiting cannabis options forces patients to use black market, ReLeaf says

Cannabis law reform group ReLeaf says forcing patients to buy ‘expensive’ extracts will leave them no option but to turn to the black market

Cannabis law reform group ReLeaf Malta has said propose amendments to drug laws on medicinal cannabis, will still drive patients to the black market to procure cannabis.

The Maltese government has issued an amendment to the 2015 Drug Dependency Act as a first step towards created access to medicinal cannabis.

But ReLeaf said the the amendment would do more harm and good.

The amendment states that patients will need a “control card” in addition to a doctor’s prescription, and that every prescription would need to be approved by the Superintendent of Health, which ReLeaf said would lead to increased bureaucracy.

Such an approach is “the opposite of what Minister Christ Fearne said he wanted to do with this amendment,” according to ReLeaf.

Legalising and regulating medicinal cannabis was a “long overdue step in Malta’s healthcare”, ReLeaf said, giving credit for the proposed reform which would allow family doctors to prescribe medical marijuana at their discretion.

The group expressed disappointment at the fact that patients will only have access to products with cannabis extracts rather than the cannabis flower, limiting a patient’s options.

Other countries’ policies on medicinal cannabis include the cannabis flower as a medicine due to “the swiftness and speed of inhaling the cannabis medicine, which is essential in treating chronic pain – such as found in Fibromyalgia – in an instant,” ReLeaf said.

“Forcing patients to buy ‘expensive’ extracts will leave them no option but to turn to the black market.”