Round Table at the President’s Foundation for the Well-being of Society on the non-medical use of cannabis
ReLeaf proactively participated in the President’s round table on the non-medical use of cannabis held on Monday 16 July 2018. ReLeaf reiterated its views that the use of cannabis is popular in Malta and that is why adequate legislation and regulation is needed. Only through a solid legislative framework can Malta ensure that young people do not have access to cannabis and adult cannabis users are protected against the negative effects of the illegal market. ReLeaf highlighted how presently adult cannabis users are still being persecuted by the police and when apprehended can be detained for up to 48 hours. Furthermore, the illegal market continues to have monopoly on the price, quantity and quality of the cannabis plant. The quality of cannabis is directly linked to the well being of the individual and ReLeaf expressed concern that the current system is continuing to place users at risk of contaminated or bad quality cannabis.
ReLeaf called for a better framework to legalize and regulate cannabis, whilst ensure cannabis is not used by young people under the age of 21. Furthermore, ReLeaf categorically opposed the invasive practice of testing school children for the presence of cannabis. Similar proposals raise huge human rights issues and negatively impinge on the rights of the child. Whilst recognizing that the collection of data on use is important, ReLeaf reiterated that similar testing practices continue to create confusion between use and abuse and do not form part of harm reduction policies. In fact, they continue to promote ideas linked with the criminalization and persecution of users. ReLeaf believes that there are better educational and psychosocial tools to address cannabis use by youths and called on members present to promote an inter-disciplinary approach based on preventive educational and health tools.
ReLeaf is confident that increased dialogue on the matter of cannabis is imperative to properly assess the present situation and to develop policy which is based on justice, human rights and a safe environment for the adult use of good quality cannabis.