The Malta Independent 3 March 2024, Sunday
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Applications for non-profit cannabis clubs will open on 28 February

Friday, 27 January 2023, 12:13 Last update: about 2 years ago

People interested in setting up a non-profit cannabis club will be able to apply for a licence as from 28 February, the Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis (ARUC) said Friday.

Licensing will be subject to a set of standards concerning operations, cultivation, sampling, testing, packaging and labelling.

The associations are the only way to legally buy the drug, which was legalised in December 2021.

“The reform is helping to bring about a more just and human society,”  Parliamentary Secretary Rebecca Buttigieg said during a 'Setting the Standards' conference'. 

People should not be criminalised for smoking a joint, and prohibition has never managed to stop cannabis use, she said.

“We are fighting trafficking and criminal activity,” she said. 

An overview of the application process and how the system will work was given Friday morning during the conference, held at the MFCC in Ta’ Qali.

Non-profit clubs will be called ‘Cannabis Harm Reduction Associations’ and will need to be registered with ARUC. 

Each club must have two founding members and a list of administrators that must have been residing in Malta for five years. There will also be a quality controller appointed in the club, as well as people responsible for security and distribution. 

Any listed administrators cannot have a criminal history of insolvency, money laundering, or terrorist financing. Licences will initially be valid for one year, and then they can be renewed for another three. The license fee will be set at €1,000, and each club can have up to 500 members. A person can only join one organisation.

All revenue must be reinvested in the organisation or in salaries. Associations will also contribute a portion of their sales to a harm reduction fund.

Clubs will be in charge of cultivating their product from seed to sale. Clubs will be able to purchase seeds from abroad, but only from the EU market and other approved jurisdictions. 

Clubs will be able to cultivate the seed at any available location so long as it remains out of sight and the club remains compliant with other planning regulations. 

Shops can be opened but cannot be situated within 250 metres of a school or youth centre. The shop must have proper ventilation and CCTV on site. It also cannot be seen to promote cannabis use in its signage or shop name. 

CBD levels will be enforced at under 0.2%, while THC will only be capped for products sold to people aged 18 to 21. 

Cannabis clubs will not be allowed to sell alcohol, and cannabis can only be sold in bud form. Anyone above 18 years will be able to become a member of a club, but cannot be a member of multiple clubs.

No quota has been set for the number of clubs that can open.

 

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