This past Tuesday (30 November 2021), the long-awaited parliamentary debate on cannabis legalization in Malta began.
Following Germany’s revelation of intentions to legalize adult-use cannabis, Malta has announced its plan to do the same. Malta may pass preliminary laws on marijuana reform before the end of the year. Maltese officials have proposed a new legislation that would allow individuals to carry small quantities of marijuana without being detained or penalized. Is it possible that Malta may legalize marijuana before Germany does?
The proposed plans include home cultivation of up to four cannabis plants and possession of up to 7 grams while in public, as well as the purchase of cannabis via non-profit organizations. Contrary to the Netherlands’ and Spain’s on-site consumption coffeeshops and social clubs, these cannabis businesses would be take-out only. The proposed Maltese marijuana retailers would be unable to operate in close proximity to schools or youth groups. Adults in Malta, however, would be able to use cannabis in the privacy of their own homes, without the presence of minors, if the proposed amendment is implemented. Consumption in public would be prohibited, with a fine of up to €235 euros imposed on anyone discovered smoking in public.
Despite criticism, the legislation passed through the parliament’s second reading. Before proceeding to the next level, a committee must evaluate and analyze Malta’s proposed law. The administration is pressing for a swift answer on cannabis reform.