Church wants members of the Malta Cannabis Association to be psychologically tested and home growers to be registered

Hours before the Maltese Parliament began debating a landmark cannabis reform law, 22 organizations – mostly religious organizations but also independent organizations – insisted the bill should include many more restrictions on the combinations of cannabis offered.

“The possibility of having cannabis clubs which are multiplying in every town and village is real,” warned religious groups published by the Church. “We therefore call on the government to suspend the bill until a serious, independent and in-depth study is carried out on the social impact of the bill’s proposals.”

In addition to describing the 500 club members As “excessive,” church groups also insisted on more membership restrictions to bar people with certain mental health conditions from registering.

“In this regard, the bill should require the need for a medical or psychological assessment before approval of membership,” they insisted.

In addition, church groups have called for specific guarantees to prevent tourists from becoming short-term members of cannabis associations, which they say could damage the reputation of the Maltese tourism industry.

They also urged the government to keep a register of people who choose to grow grass at home (a maximum of four plants per household), arguing that Uruguay has done something similar.

“How can this clause in the bill be regulated and monitored if the regulator and government have no control over who grows cannabis at home?” ” they asked.

Along with the Nationalist Party, religious groups have insisted that while they are against the criminalization and stigmatization of cannabis users, the bill will “normalize” cannabis use.

This, they asserted, “will directly or indirectly promote its use among the most vulnerable members of our society, especially children and young people.”

Their full position statement can be read here.

In addition to cannabis associations and home cultivation, the cannabis reform bill proposes that people can carry up to seven grams of cannabis on them without police being able to stop or question them unless they have a reasonable suspicion that it is trafficking.

A new authority on the responsible use of cannabis will be put in place and those convicted of cannabis-related offenses who are no longer criminal will be able to obtain this information removed from their criminal record.

The long-awaited parliamentary discussion on the bill is expected to begin at 4.30 p.m.

Photo: Archdiocese of Malta

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Ida M. Morgan