Malta’s MPs from the Labour Party have approved on Tuesday their plans to legalize possession and cultivation of marijuana for personal use. The country becomes the first one in Europe where the cannabis is allowed for use.
Malta adults will be allowed to have up to seven grams of cannabis and grow up to four plants at home for their personal use, the parliament ruled on Tuesday. Under legislation backed by prime minister Robert Abela’s party, the non-profit use is allowed.
The local law allows as well the creation of regulated non-profit groups of up to 500 people each to grow the drug for the exclusive use of its members.
“We are legislating to address a problem and taking the harm reduction approach by regulating the sector so that people do not have to resort to the black market to purchase cannabis,” Malta’s PM exlained the law during a parliamentary debate.
Abela said he wanted to maintain a tough stance on dealers but spare parents the “trauma” of their child being arrested and hauled to court over a joint.
According to the PM, Malta’s authorities are dissuading people from smoking cannabis, while not treating those who choose to do so as criminals. Drug trafficking will remain illegal in Malta.
The move comes just weeks after Luxembourg announced similar proposals, while personal use and growing of cannabis is also tolerated in Spain and tolerated in the Netherlands.
In Spain, the lack of a legal framework allows for the private production and consumption of cannabis by adults for their personal use in a private space, though its sale is still illegal.
The Netherlands became another EU nation that tolerates the sale of small amounts of cannabis to locals in coffee-shops and possession by individuals of no more than five grams of cannabis or five plants.