• Malta First EU Member State to Legalise Cannabis Use

Malta First EU Member State to Legalise Cannabis Use

15 December 2021

On the 14th of December 2021, the Maltese parliament approved Bill 241 (hereinafter the ‘Bill’), a Bill which legalises the personal use and growth of cannabis – the first of its kind in the European Union.

The Bill was initially proposed by the Hon. Owen Bonnici, Minister for Equality, Research and Innovation on the 1st of October 2021.  

The Bill was immediately met with a wide range of responses, however parliamentary figures, including Prime Minister Abela continue to emphasize that the intention of the cannabis reform is not to encourage cannabis use, but rather to ‘avoid treating its users as criminals’. Furthermore, the legalisation of cannabis is expected to significantly reduce the black-market demand and thus discourage its illegal trafficking.

In accordance with the Bill, the legal limit of cannabis that may be held on one’s person is set at seven grams, while users may grow up to four plants at home. 

Use shall also be limited to those above 18 years of age, and registered cannabis clubs shall be the entities responsible for distributing the product. The Bill also prohibits any use within 250m from schools and does not permit for advertising of products.

Although Malta is the first member state in the EU to legalise cannabis, it is not the only EU country to have legalisation of cannabis on its agenda. Whilst the Netherlands is well-known for its tolerant policy, member states such as Italy, Germany and Luxembourg are also considering various forms of legalisation of cannabis.

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