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Dec 22, 2021

Malta legalizes cannabis

Foreign Affairs News Desk
A view of the Maltese House of Parliament, where lawmakers are set to legalize adult-use recreational cannabis, Valletta, Malta.
A view of the Maltese House of Parliament, where lawmakers are set to legalize adult-use recreational cannabis, Valletta, Malta.

As Malta has legalized the use of cannabis it becomes the first country in Europe, though it is EU’s smallest country.

Malta’s President George Vella is set to sign the new bill into law next week, after recreational use of weed becomes legal in small nation of the entire continent.

Under the to be introduced new Malta law, a person will be allowed to carry a maximum of 7 grams of cannabis and grow up to four plants, but smoking a joint in public remains illegal. And smoking weed in front of children can warrant a fine of up to US $560 fine.

Chief of the pro-cannabis reform group ReLeaf Malta, Andrew Bonello has been campaigning to legalize cannabis in Malta since 2011. “Unfortunately, I’ve had people ending up sometimes even in jail just for cultivating a couple of plants,” he said.

The bill is far from the liberal model seen in Canada or Uruguay, where cannabis is broadly legal.

In the Netherlands, following the liberalization of the use of marijuana in the mid-’70s is tolerated but not actually legal where coffee shops can sell weed but it’s illegal to buy it in large quantities. The system is commonly known as the “back-door problem,” where cannabis is sold legally out the front door and bought illegally through the back door.

Meanwhile, the other European nations are also watching closely the Maltese new law.

Germany’s new government has promised to legalize recreational cannabis. Luxembourg had already floated plans to legalize the growing and use of cannabis at home. In Italy, a referendum on legalization is planned for next year.