Caritas Malta, the Sedqa Agency, the Oasis Foundation and the Psychiatry Association of Malta have expressed concern that use of cannabis is being normalised and popularised. The entities declared in a joint statement that the definition of recreational cannabis conveys the message to society that this substance has recreational value.
The entities add they are aware, through the experience of smoking and drinking, that when a drug becomes more popular and even legal, its use increases and its negative effects are even felt more. They add this does not mean that if more persons are using cannabis, there is less cause for concern. On the contrary, one should ask why this substance is managing to penetrate even more into our culture.
The entities further state that recent research confirms the use of cannabis by adolescents is very damaging on the mind and exposes it to risks of dependence on other drugs. On the other hand, the entities agree that the law on medicinal cannabis made a step forward as cannabis contains medicinal properties which, when used on the basis of research, are beneficial to patients.
An appeal has been made for reducing the stigma of substance users, and for the message to continue to be conveyed that every drug including cannabis has its dangers, and has no recreational value.
Strong efforts are ongoing in Malta in drug prevention and rehabilitation, and the hope has been expressed that laws proposed in this regard will further strengthen 2015 legislation and give more assistance to the Judiciary so that no drug-dependent person will end up in prison, but rather, such persons will be helped and guided towards a substance-free lifestyle.