Government, PD in favour, PN against draft bill on production of medicinal cannabis
Following a discussion on the draft bill regarding production in Malta of cannabis medication, Opposition leader Adrian Delia has indicated that the Opposition will be voting against the bill on cannabis production for medical purposes, as he says the bill as it is drawn up is not acceptable to the Opposition, and requires major changes.
Parliamentary Secretary Deo Debattista stated that Government has already made it clear the draft is only limited to the production of cannabis for medicinal purposes and research.
PN to vote against draft bill
Dr Delia was speaking in Parliament during the discussion on the draft bill on the production in Malta of medicines produced from cannabis.
Dr Delia stated that the draft had been prepared in a hurry, as if to accommodate a particular investment by a company with a track record of specialisation in the production of marijuana for recreational purposes.
Dr Delia added that the draft did not exclude the cultivation of cannabis in Malta, but states that such a commercial activity could not take place without a licence. Dr Delia said the Opposition has to be assured by Government that the law has to be limited strictly to medicinal production, and that it can never be changed by a legal notice.
Dr Delia further stated that the law does not provide peace of mind that competencies and structures are in place which allow for strict supervision and regulation required during production. Dr Delia asked for the required safeguards from Government in the details of the draft.
Government clarifies on draft, PD says it should be flexible
Parliamentary Secretary Deo Debattista said Government had already made it clear the draft was only limited to production of cannabis for medical purposes and research. Dr Debattista added that for other changes to be made by Government, the bill has to come before Parliament again.
Democratic Party spokesman Godfrey Farrugia stated that the competent Maltese authorities have the necessary experience to ensure medicinal cannabis production will be carried out according to good manufacturing practices, as stipulated in the draft. Dr Farrugia said the draft should be flexible, as the legal obligations have to allow for new research findings. Dr Farrugia added that the interest shown by a leading Canadian company in this sector would benefit the economy.
The Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses, Chris Cardona, announced that in recent months Malta Enterprise had approved three projects from companies with an investment of 7.5 million euro and with the creation of 118 new jobs over a three-year period. Minister Cardona added that three other projects are at evaluation stage, amounting to a total investment of 57 million euro and 365 new jobs.
Dr Cardona added that the approved projects have to follow strict security procedures, and will be subject to inspections by the Malta Medicines Authority. Minister Cardona added that through this law Malta will be entering a new economic sector and will be positioning itself as a centre for excellence with high standards in a fast-growing market.