Malta decriminalised the possession and cultivation of cannabis for adult personal use and began moves to establish a regulatory authority this week.
The legislation makes it legal for anyone aged 18 and over to possess up to seven grams of cannabis, cultivate up to four plants and store up to 50 grams of dried cannabis. Consuming cannabis in public or in the presence of minors remains illegal and subject to fines.
Non-profit clubs will be allowed to distribute cannabis and plant seeds among members under the new rules, and there are calls for an authority to work with the government on national policy governing cannabis use.
Sponsoring minister Owen Bonnici said the package would “stop treating people who are not criminals like criminals, protect minors and society at large” and create a regulatory system.
The opposition Nationalist Party opposed the bill — which must now be signed into law by the president — arguing it would normalise and increase drug abuse in the country.