Malta becomes first EU country to legalise cannabis for recreational use

Malta has become the first EU country to legalise cannabis for recreational use with a new law.

Cannabis is now legal in Malta. On Tuesday, December 14, The House of Representatives of the Mediterranean country legalised the cultivation and consumption of the plant for recreational use, becoming the first country of the European Union to do so.

The law was passed with 36 favourable votes from the governing Labour Party of the prime minister Robert Abela, and with 27 votes against it from the conservative opposition, the Nationalist Party, according to local press. The driving force behind the billl, Owen Bonnici, a Member of Parliament and the current Minister of Equality, Research and Innovation, celebrated the new law on Twitter. “We are the change makers,” he said. The legislation must now be ratified by the Maltese president, George Vella, although his signature is considered a mere formality.

With this law, the small island nation, which has permitted cannabis for medicinal uses since 2018, becomes a pioneer in the EU.

The law states that citizens over 18 years of age may possess up to 7 grams of cannabis or its psychoactive derivatives, such as hashish, and they will be able to cultivate up to four plants, with up to fifty grams of leaves of the plant at home.

Individuals found to be in possession of between 7 and 28 grams of cannabis will only need to pay a fine of between 50 and 100 euros.

However, cannabis may not be consumed in public, and there will be a fine of 235 euros for doing so, an amount which could rise to 500 euros if there are minors present.

The government and the Labour Party were met with strong opposition from the Catholic Church, which predicts a negative impact on society and “a normalisation of the drug”.

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Written by

Tamsin Brown

Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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