Malta, first European country to legalise cannabis for personal use

Luxembourg, Germany and Switzerland plan to legalise its recreational use soon. Italy will hold a public referendum, while Spanish and Portuguese political parties are deciding their positions.

Evangelical Focus

VALETTA · 16 DECEMBER 2021 · 09:20 CET

Valetta, Malta. / Photo: <a target="_blank" href="">Micaela Parente</a>, Unsplash, CC0,
Valetta, Malta. / Photo: Micaela Parente, Unsplash, CC0

Malta is the first European country that has legalised the cultivation and personal use of cannabis.

The Maltese parliament approved, with 36 votes in favour and 27 against, a reform that allows citizens aged 18 and over, to possess up to seven grams of cannabis and grow up to four cannabis plants at home.

Carrying more than seven grams but less than 28, will be fined up to €100, while the penalty for smoking it in public is €235. Furthermore, those who take the drug in front of minors could be fined up to €500.

NGOs will be able to grow cannabis plants to sell to no more than 500 members, as long as they are not located near schools or youth clubs.

The Equality Minister, Owen Bonnici state: “This historic move would stop small-time cannabis users from facing the criminal justice system, and curb drugs trafficking by making sure that [users] now have a safe and regularised way from where they can obtain cannabis”.


Cannabis laws around Europe

Since the UN reclassified cannabis to recognise its therapeutic uses last year, Luxembourg, Germany and Switzerland have announced plans to legalise its recreational use.

Cannabis is still illegal in the Netherlands, except in the so-called “coffee shops”, where the possession, consumption, and retail sale of up to five grams of cannabis is allowed since 1976.

In Spain, the production of cannabis is allowed for personal consumption, but not for trade and public use, while Italy will hold a referendum on the legalisation next year.

In 2001, the Portuguese government passed a law that decriminalised the consumption and possession of all drugs,including cannabis, for personal use. Selling and growing is still illegal, but political parties are now discussing the legalisation of recreational use.

Furthermore, Austria, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and the UK have legalised medical marijuana.

Uruguay was the first country in the world to legalise cannabis for personal use in 2013, followed by Canada in 2018.

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