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31/08/2018 Releaf Press Statments

ReLeaf expresses concern at the latest developments related to medicinal cannabis in Malta and patients’ rights

It has come to the attention of ReLeaf that a new discriminatory practice is being imposed on medicinal cannabis patients, negatively impinging on their rights and freedoms as equal citizens of Malta. As reported by the online portal LovinMalta doctors have a legal obligation to inform the Commissioner of police that a patient is using medicinal cannabis and thus proceed with the revocation of the driving licence.

Patients that apply for medicinal cannabis will be forced to give up their driving licence in accordance with the Eighth Schedule, Regulation 34, 45A (Minimum standards of physical and mental fitness for driving a power driven vehicle of Subsidiary Legislation 65.18 Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations. As prescribed by the law,

Driving licences shall not be issued to, or renewed for, applicants or drivers who regularly use psychotropic substances, in whatever form,  which  can hamper the ability to drive safely where the quantities absorbed are such as to have an adverse effect on driving.  This shall  apply to all other medicinal products or combinations of medicinal products which affect the ability to drive

ReLeaf recognizes that the psychoactive nature of THC based medications could hamper the ability to drive or operate machinery, however does not understand why these same parameters are not used with other psychotropic medications, such as sleeping pills. It is also not clear on which levels could the consumption of THC result as a danger and the time lapse needed between the last medication and the possibility to drive safely. The revocation of the driving license is further unexplainable when considering the effects of CBD based products. CBD, as declared by the World Health Organization, has no psychoactive properties and does not affect the person’s psychomotor skills. Therefore, it is not clear how the law intends to protect society when in reality it has not scientifically quantified the risk of using cannabis and driving.

Whilst recognising that the safety of the individual and other drivers is of paramount importance, ReLeaf feels that the current approach is not aimed to promote road safety but is another attempt at demonizing cannabis. Additionally this will scare patients away from seeking medical advice and revert back to the black market for their medicine. Furthermore, it also reinforces the false idea that medicinal cannabis patients will use the medicine in an irresponsible manner and create havoc on the streets of Malta. To this end, ReLeaf calls on local authorities to reconsider this discriminatory and non-evidence based approach and consult doctors and medicinal cannabis patients for a better understanding of how cannabis acts on the mind and body.