ReLeaf urge government to present tangible proposals to legalise cannabis for personal use

Legalising cannabis for personal use will not lead to a free for all but rather ensure the drug is removed from the hands of criminals, activists insist

Cannabis legalisation is on the table but so far the government has not put forward concrete proposals
Cannabis legalisation is on the table but so far the government has not put forward concrete proposals

Cannabis campaigners want government to present tangible proposals for the legalisation of marijuana for personal use as they contest fears that regulation will lead to a free for all.

ReLeaf, an organisation campaigning for the legalisation of cannabis, was reacting to a recent statement by the Maltese Association of Psychiatry and Oasi Foundation warning against legalisation.

Government is in the process of drawing up a legal framework to legalise cannabis for personal use, however few details have so far emerged on what type of regulation was being considered.

ReLeaf said the joint statement did not distinguish between cannabis use and “problematic cannabis use” and gave short shrift to the difference between cannabis and other drugs.

“The short and long term effects of cannabis, including its psychoactive properties are very different from those of other drugs… [the joint statement] ignores various international calls for a more humane, responsible and regulated approach,” ReLeaf said on Monday.

The organisation insisted that the fears expressed by MAP and Oasi were based on the notion of a legalised and commercialised cannabis market, rather than a regulated one. ReLeaf backs a regulated market.

“ReLeaf believes that Malta, like other countries, is realising that consenting and approving the use of cannabis in a legalised non-commercialised regulated market is not in fact admitting defeat, but is in reality an opportunity to gain control on this consumable product and ensure end-users are protected against the adulterants of the illegal market or the commercialisation by multinational corporations of the cannabis plant,” the group said.

It noted that the possibility to purchase cannabis from a regulated non-profit driven market was essentially rooted in the belief that through regulation cannabis will “no longer be in the hands of unscrupulous criminals”.

ReLeaf called on the government to present a more tangible picture of policy and regulatory frameworks to legalise cannabis for personal use.

The group also called on MAP and Oasi to speak with all cannabis users and not just with people with a problematic cannabis use.

“ReLeaf is conscious of the struggles and the dangers presented by the current illegal market and half-baked decriminalisation system. That is why we remain committed to push forward a sensible, legalised and regulated cannabis market for Malta,” the organisation said.