Malta is one step away from legalizing recreational, adult-use cannabis.
A legalization bill has been approved in the country’s parliament by 36 votes to 27.
Following a signature from the country’s president, the bill will become law and Malta will become the first country in Europe to allow such cannabis use.
Inside the bill
Under the bill, named Bill 241, adults aged 18 or over in Malta will be able to possess up to 7 grams (g) of cannabis for personal use.
If found carrying between 7g and 28g of cannabis, however, an individual will be tried before the Commissioner for Justice and, if found guilty, will be liable to a penalty of between €50 and €100.
The bill will also make it permissible for an individual to grow up to four cannabis plants in their home, but buds grown from these plants will be limited to 50g.
Cannabis associations will also become legal, allowing adults physical spaces to buy and distribute cannabis and cannabis seeds. Associations will be permitted to sell up to 7g of cannabis in a single day to a member, who will not be able to buy more than 50g of cannabis and 20 seeds over a calendar month. Membership will be limited to one association per person.
These associations will also be capped at 500 members and prohibited from promoting its activities or being based within 250 meters of a school or youth center.
Adults will be banned from smoking in public – under penalty of a fine – unless they have been authorized for medical reasons.
In the country and beyond
Bill 241 had its first reading in the Maltese parliament on October 4 of this year. Two more formal readings followed before it was put to a vote on December 14.
“And the ayes have it! The #Cannabis reform bill has just been approved at third reading stage. We are the change makers,” Owen Bonnici, Malta’s minister for equality, research and innovation, said in a statement on Twitter following the vote.
The bill now just awaits a signing by Malta’s president, George Vella, before it becomes law.
If this signing comes within the next few days, Malta will become the first country in Europe to legislate cannabis possession for personal use, beating Luxembourg and Germany – which have announced similar measures – to the prize.
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