The Malta Independent 18 June 2024, Tuesday
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Government in dialogue with International Narcotics Control Board on non-medical cannabis laws

Saturday, 13 May 2023, 10:07 Last update: about 2 years ago

The government, through a delegation led by Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms Rebecca Buttigieg, has opened a "productive dialogue" with the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) on the regulatory model for non-medical cannabis use being implemented in Malta, a government statement said Saturday.

The reform to the bill for the responsible use of cannabis came into force on December 2021, and has established a new authority, the Authority on the Responsible Use of Cannabis (ARUC).

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The Maltese delegation in Vienna, Austria, had the opportunity to explain in detail the principles of the regulatory model, which prioritizes harm and risk reduction, social justice, and public health.

The meeting with the INCB made significant emphasis on the continuous contact it has with the Authority for Responsible Cannabis Use (ARUC), the Cannabis Harm Reduction Associations, and Malta's commitment to ensuring that the regulatory model remains flexible to meet its goals, particularly in fighting drug trafficking in the illicit market.

Buttigieg said that the Maltese government is committed to promoting a regulatory model for non-medical cannabis use that is based on the principles of social justice and public health.

“I am very pleased that we have opened this dialogue with the INCB to discuss how our model can serve as a positive example for other countries. Through ARUC, we are working to ensure that human rights are safeguarded, while our efforts focus more on education and safety for the community, rather than punitive measures,” Buttigieg said.

ARUC Executive Director Leonid McKay spoke about the importance of decriminalization, with a regulatory framework that aims to provide a sector that protects responsible adults who want to use cannabis in a safe environment.

“The Authority has been mandated to reduce the damage caused by the illicit market and implement the necessary prevention measures,” McKay said, adding that this will be achieved through a robust regulatory framework, which has been established in recent months to monitor personal cannabis use by adults.

McKay emphasized that this is a non-profit approach aimed at putting people and the community at the centre of government policy.

In addition to the meeting with the INCB, the Maltese delegation also met with representatives from other countries who are also exploring regulatory models for non-medical cannabis use.

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