The European continent has served as a hotbed for medical cannabis policy reform and the emerging cannabis industry in recent years.
This year the conversation among lawmakers in Europe has shifted dramatically towards adult-use legalization, with countries like Germany and Luxembourg consistently making headlines for their legalization efforts.
However, a lesser-known country could beat both of those countries to the legalization punch.
Malta, an archipelago in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast, is very close to legalizing cannabis for adult use. So close, in fact, that it could occur any day.
Sailing Through Parliament
The effort to legalize cannabis for adult use in Malta is not new, yet a recent measure has gained a lot of traction and sailed through the committee stage of the political process last week.
The measure is currently awaiting a final reading in Malta’s parliament, which historically has served as nothing more than a formality. Passage seems imminent according to many political observers in Malta.
Cannabis legalization in Malta, assuming that the current measure is adopted, would legalize the possession of up to 7 grams of cannabis by adults that are 18 years or older.
The measure would also automatically expunge many previous cannabis convictions.
Opponents of the measure tried very hard to derail the legislation, and when that didn’t work, they tried to alter provisions in the legislation, to no avail.
Will the President Sign Off?
Malta’s Chamber of Pharmacists recently called on President George Vella to refuse to sign the measure if/when it reaches his desk.
Hopefully that proves to not be the case given the fact that the legalization is working in the other countries that have already adopted legalization.
Lawmakers in Uruguay legalized cannabis for adult use in 2013, and Canada did the same five years later in 2018. Last time I checked, the sky was still intact over both of those countries.
Cannabis legalization is going to spread across the European continent in the coming years, and Malta could very well prove to be the first domino to fall.
However, if the current measure ultimately does pass it will need to be improved upon sooner rather than later.
Compared to the legalization models in Uruguay and Canada, Malta’s form of legalization will be very limited. With that being said, it’s still much better than prohibition.