The Malta Independent 16 May 2022, Monday

Request for Parliamentary committee to discuss cannabis reform petition ignored

Tuesday, 14 December 2021, 10:56 Last update: about 6 months ago

The Chairman of the Petitions committee in Parliament, Joe Mizzi, has ignored a request for a petition calling for modifications of the cannabis reform bill to be discussed, the organisations that signed the petition said.

A vote in favour of the legislation in the Maltese parliament will take place today, while it does not seem that the petition will be discussed before then.

The move by Malta regarding cannabis regulation is likely to be followed by reform across Europe in 2022. Germany recently announced a move to establish a legally regulated market, following announcements from the governments of Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

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“As of this morning, 14 December at 10am, we have not received any reply to our letter to Joe Mizzi and the members of the petitions committee of Parliament to close the petition proposing amendments to the cannabis law, so that they can be discussed by the committee,” the organisations said in a statement.

“According to paragraph 6.1 of the parliamentary committee's guidelines on petitions: ‘When an online petition is created, it will automatically be open for signature for a period of sixty days. In the event of a wish to shorten or extend this period, a request shall be made to the Committee on Petitions.’"

“According to clause 7.2 the Committee may decide to call on the petitioner to appear before the Committee. It may also request that the petitioner make a brief presentation and / or answer any questions from members of the same committee. A petitioner summoned to appear before the committee may request to be assisted by another person, who may intervene only with the permission of the Committee.”

Through a letter sent to Joe Mizzi, the organizations called for the implementation of clauses 6.1 and 7.2 of the guidelines in order to close the petition so that the petition could be discussed by the committee, the organisations said. “In this way, the petition could be discussed before the third reading of the law. It is clear that the government will ignore this request and pass the law in  a rushed manner and without any real consultation with the many stakeholders who have spoken out.”

“In just 5 days more than 9,375 citizens had signed a petition to parliament to amend Bill 241. Psychiatrists, doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, constituted bodies, NGOs that work in the field of prevention and treatment and many other organizations proposed  their amendments to Government, which did not accept a single amendment and decided to only listen to one pro-cannabis association,” they said.

“If this law is passed, it will have very serious consequences for the mental health of many young people and adults and will promote a culture of drug use. While all organizations are in favour of decriminalizing cannabis users, they disagree with normalizing the use of cannabis. This law is being presented as a progressive law for our country but it will have very negative consequences for the wellbeing of the Maltese and Gozitan people.”

The orgnaisations that signed the petition are:

1. Caritas Malta

2. OASI Foundation

3. Malta Employers’ Association (MEA)

4. Malta Chamber of Commerce and Industry

5. Medical Association of Malta (MAM)

6. Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN)

7. Malta Chamber of Pharmacists

8. Gozo Business Chamber

9. Malta Association of Social Workers

10. Malta Association of Psychiatry

11. Secretariat for Catholic Education (SfCE)

12. Church Schools’ Association

13. Gozo Tourism Association

14. Richmond Foundation

15. MAPA MALTA

16. International Schools Association

17. Catholic Voices

18. Zghazagh Azzjoni Kattolika ZAK

19. Azzjoni Kattolika

20. Malta Girl Guides

21. Home Away from Home

22. National Foster Care Association Malta

23. National Parents Society for Persons with Disability

24. St Jeanne Antide Foundation

25. Paolo Freire Institute

26. Millennium Chapel

27. SOS Malta

28. Dar Merhba Bik

29. Youth Alive Foundation

30. Social Assistance Secretariat

31. Kummissjoni Djocesana Djakonija

32. Dar tal-Providenza

33. Society St Vincent De Paule

34. Church Homes for the Elderly

35. Ufficcju Hidma Pastorali mal-Persuni Separati

36. Mater Dei and Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre Chaplains

37. RISE Foundation

38. Dar Hosea

39. Peace and Good Foundation

40. Migrants Commission

41. Kummissjoni Gustizzja u Paci

42. Osanna Pia Foundation

43. Fondazzjoni Sebħ

44. Life Network Foundation

45. Karl Vella Foundation

46. Malta CAN (Children’s Associations Network)

47. National Association of Pensioners

 

48. H.E. President Emeritus Marie Louise Coleiro Preca

49. Professor Andrew Azzopardi, Dean, Faculty of Social Wellbeing, UoM

50. Dr Claire Azzopardi Lane, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Social Wellbeing, UoM

51. Dr Colin Calleja, Dean, Faculty of Education, UoM

52. Dr Michelle Attard Tonna, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Education, UoM

53. Dr Sandra Scicluna, Head, Department of Criminology, Faculty for Social Wellbeing UoM

54. Georgina Debattista, Visiting Senior Lecturer, Faculty for Social Wellbeing, UoM

55. Max Cassar, Department of Psychology, UoM

56. Angela Caruana - Children's Rights Activist

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