The Malta Independent 23 February 2024, Friday
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ARUC issues three more licences and conducts first cannabis harm reduction training sessions

Saturday, 2 December 2023, 15:41 Last update: about 4 months ago

Three more licences to Cannabis Harm Reduction Associations (CHRAs’) were issued over the last few weeks, the Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis said Saturday. 

The licensees, which now add up to five, are listed on the authority’s website.  ARUC reminds prospective members that only associations listed on its website may cultivate and distribute cannabis to their members.  Membership is limited to residents of Malta aged 18+; a copy of the ID card must be provided to the association as proof of both requirements.


On 28 and 29 November, the Authority organised the first harm reduction training for licensed and in-principle Cannabis Harm Reduction Associations.  The training included the participation of keynote speakers and provided participants with a comprehensive overview of harm reduction practices, and of the role of CHRAs in promoting the responsible use of cannabis. The two-day program also delved into key matters related to the operational and day to day running of an association and the role of data gathering for research purposes.

The keynote speakers addressed the historical and core operational aspects of a harm and risk reduction approach and highlighted the intricate relationship between public health and the regulation of cannabis for non-medical use. Furthermore, speakers underlined the importance of recognising that different social groups of cannabis users require different tools and attention.

The interdependent relationship between sustaining a not-for-profit basis and a harm reduction approach brought to the attention of participants the importance of prioritising a public health approach as opposed to a profit driven one based on the maximization of sales. Drawing experiences from Belgium, Spain, USA and Uruguay, speakers emphasised the core foundational elements of preserving and promoting the ‘social’ aspect of a CHRAs, particularly acting as a protective factor against risks associated with cannabis use.

Leonid McKay, Chairperson of ARUC highlighted that the coming months will be decisive to further ensure that CHRAs fulfil their role as active agents for positive change. He explained that this training program will be followed by a more advanced program in 2024. Mr McKay welcomed the CHRAs commitment to advance a harm and risk reduction approach and to aid ARUC to develop evidence-based research protocols and educational campaigns on the responsible use of cannabis.

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