The Malta Independent 6 June 2023, Tuesday
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Updated: Cannabis authority chair fired after 11 months, government announces new chief

Friday, 11 November 2022, 08:56 Last update: about 8 months ago

Psychotherapist Mariella Dimech (above) was fired as executive chairperson of the cannabis authority which was set up only 11 months ago.

In a terse statement, the government did not give any reason why Dimech was sacked, simply saying that she was to be replaced by Leonid McKay.

Dimech told Times of Malta she had been informed on Thursday by the Home Affairs ministry that her appointment was being terminated with immediate effect.


"Over the last 10 months, I have worked with no functional office, no staff, no budget and a political strategy and decision strategy I disagreed with," she told the newspaper.

Dimech was appointed to lead the authority earlier this year and her term was to last for three years.

Malta became the first EU country to legalise the cultivation and possession of cannabis at the end of last year.

The authority acts as a regulator for non-profit associations that are now allowed to cultivate and distribute cannabis to approved members.

In its statement, the government announced that McKay (above) was to be appointed as the new chairman, without making reference to Dimech's dismissal.

It said that McKay has a long experience in the running of public authorities. He graduated in sociology and has a Masters in social politics. He worked for 14 years at Caritas before being appointed director.

In 2018, he was appointed chief executive officer of the Housing Authority.


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