While the Court has initiated procedures for the arraignment of persons involved in the ever-greatest street drugs haul by the Malta Police, in Valletta itself the manifest of the reLeaf Campaign was launched, favouring legislation that would allow the use of cannabis for medical and recreational use.
A group of individuals together with members of Alternativa Demokratika said the campaign aims to encourage Government to control the cannabis market which is currently operative in a system which they termed to be identical to “the wild west”.
The campaign reLeaf which brings together people from different walks of public life will press for the regularisation of the use of cannabis.
Among the main proposals the movement wants to make it legal for persons over the age of 21 to use cannabis while cannabis used for medical purposes should be permitted through a medical prescription. In addition it would not be illegal to cultivate six plants in a private place and it would not be illegal for a person to be in possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis. It is also being proposed that to ensure the security of the product, small quantities of cannabis will be sold from licenced outlets.
Eric Castillo said these proposals and others will address illegal trafficking of cannabis, a trafficking that is lining the pockets of criminal organisations.
Castillo said that those who wanted cannabis should be able to go to a dispensary and have access to it; an established age limit would control access to the dispensary and thus prevent its use by minors.
The proposals also include the establishment of a department to issue licences to enable cannabis plants to be cultivated and sold from specific outlets as well as to be responsible to carry out tests so as to control the quality of cannabis.
Another proposal is the establishment of a commission that will be able to study and assess the right amount of tax that should be imposed on cannabis sales.
Dr Andrew Agius suggested that cannabis medicine should be treated as other medicines are treated.
He said cannabis should be available as a medicine in various forms and preparations where a person may visit a doctor and obtain a prescription that would be best suited to the patient and enable them to obtain cannabis from an authorised dispensary.
ReLeaf spokespersons said their campaign is best on various international models, including the United States, Spain, Uruguay, Holland and Canada.
Alternattiva Demokratika was present for the launch of this campaign and maintained that such proposals were in their electoral manifesto so as to enable the distinguishing of various types of drugs. In the case of cannabis AD believes this should be regulated like cigarettes. The AD’s chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said the time has come for steps to be taken for a drugs policy and that such a policy should have a human bearing and not be one purely of repression.