The Malta Independent 16 December 2019, Monday

Malta to be one of the first countries to offer high grade genuine medical cannabis to Europe

Giulia Magri Monday, 4 November 2019, 14:56 Last update: about 2 months ago

Malta is to be one of the first countries to offer high grade genuine medical cannabis for the rest of Europe, Economy Minister Chris Cardona said on Monday. He was speaking at the inaugural edition of Medical Cannabiz World Summit in St Julian’s. The two-day conference is full of information, debate and discussion amongst those individuals who actively participate in the medical cannabis field.

Last year, Cardona introduced the bill to legalise medical marijuana in Parliament, and he said that today he is proud to see Malta hosting world leaders, researchers and industry players in Malta for this conference.

“We knew that the introduction of this industry in Malta would be met with some scepticism, especially from the media, which portrayed the government as wanting to build a narcotic industry. When you go through the Parliament debates, we discussed intensely about this industry and I am happy to say that the public and our economic community did not fall for the scepticism,” Cardona said.

He said that Malta will be one of the first countries to offer high grade genuine quality products for the rest of Europe, and he said that since cannabis has medical and therapeutic effects, it is the government’s duty to make such products safer and easier to distribute among patients.

Cardona said that the production of medical cannabis should not be controversial, but Malta should be a hub of excellence, with regulations and compliance as the main priorities.

“We owe it to our local medical community, and we must provide information and education on the use of medical cannabis for the patients,” explained Cardona. He said that the industry is constantly changing and Malta is working hard to continue being at the top of this industry.

 

Pharma industry employs more than 3,000 people

Speaking at the conference, Matthew Lawson, founder of the Canna Consultants explained that the pharmacy industry employs more than 3,000 people making up almost 15% of all people in the manufacturing sector in Malta. He said that Malta is the first EU member State to provide a holistic regulatory framework for medical cannabis. Approved projects are to invest over €100 million into the economy and these projects are expected to create over 700 new full-time jobs and supplement Malta’s export by over €900 million by 2022.

 

Dalli urges EC to invest in research and development

Speaking at the conference, MEP Miriam Dali urged the European Commission to start seriously investing in research and development in medical cannabis. She said that this is to ensure safety and provide peace of mind for both patients and medical professionals.

“Ultimately, we are dealing with a niche for a better quality of life for patients,” said Dali. She explained that, over the past few years, more medical professionals have taken an interest in the use of medical cannabis for certain cases.”

“Member states need to encourage increased knowledge among both patients and medical professionals regarding the use of cannabis- based medicine, whilst making sure that patients have proper and equal access to medical cannabis products. We must ensure that medical cannabis is provided as a safe and equal choice for patients to cater for their actual needs,” Dalli said.

She emphasised that education and research are the way forward; patients, medical professionals and the public have the right of clear guidelines of the production and use of medical cannabis. “If we want our doctors to use and provide medical cannabis, we must provide them more medical literature on why they should use such products.”

She explained that denying such information and knowledge is a violation of individuals’ basic human rights. She said that European Union has the potential to be at the forefront of the medical cannabis industry, but the European Commission and member states must be ready to discuss medical cannabis before the market can excel.

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