The Malta Independent 20 January 2022, Thursday

Pharmacists join calls for President not to sign cannabis bill; President remains silent

Monday, 6 December 2021, 12:31 Last update: about 2 months ago

The Chamber of Pharmacists has joined a chorus of voices calling on President George Vella not to sign the cannabis reform Bill.

The Bill has reached it third and final reading stage. Several NGOs, the Church and the Opposition have complained that their proposed amendments were ignored by the government.

Despite the mounting pressure, the Office of the President has remained silent, with questions sent by this newsroom on Friday remaining unanswered.

In a statement, the Kamra Tal-Ispizjara Ta’ Malta noted “with grave concern” that the law “has reached the 3rd reading stage at Parliament without any of the amendments proposed by the experts, professionals, NGOs, academics, employers organisations being considered at the Committee stage.”

It called on George Vella, “as President of Malta, and a medical doctor by profession, to refrain from signing the legislation, in the best interest of the population you represent and safeguard, present and future generations, and use your acumen and moral and institutional authority to redirect it to the Committee stage, where the expert submissions and amendment proposals are considered in bona fide by the Government to reach a just, fair and equitable conclusion, based on science and beneficence, on this controversial bill - the objective of which seems to be to the benefit of no one except suppliers of cannabis, licit or illicit.”

The chamber also noted and endorsed the positions expressed more recently by other health care professional associations and unions in particular the concerns for health and safety at the place of work and practice.

The chamber said it had published its position on the bill on 11 May 2021 and reiterated that under the current version of the proposed legalization paradigm the State effectively condones unlimited, all day, every day exposure to extremely high concentrations of THC, other cannabinoids and cannabis tars.

“This is not the way forward for our youth and our society,” it said.

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