The Labour Party will be pushing for the legalisation, not just decriminalisation of cannabis. TheJournal.mt can reveal that in its official reaction to the Government’s White Paper on the responsible use of cannabis, planned for publication tomorrow, the Labour Party will be advocating the legalisation of cannabis.
Speaking to TheJournal.mt, PL Deputy Leader Daniel Micallef confirmed that this position was approved during a meeting of the Executive Council held on Friday, following a process of consultation with members.
The Government White Paper proposes the decriminalisation of possession of up to 7g of cannabis, and that every household can grow up to 4 plants, for own consumption indoors, and not for sale.
In its official position, the Labour Party goes one step further and calls for a legal framework on how cannabis plants and seeds can be bought from specialised, licensed venues, under the supervision of an Authority which ensures the quality of the products being sold, and clear packaging information on the effects of consuming such products.
The basis of this position, as Micallef explains, is the broad realisation and consensus that cannabis users are not criminals and shouldn’t be treated as such.
Cannabis users are not criminals and shouldn’t be treated as such.
The Labour Party position also refers to the prohibition of cannabis consumption in public. Whilst agreeing with such prohibition and administrative fines, it calls for the formation of designated areas, such as social clubs and other places, where consumption is allowed. This should not serve to promote the consumption of cannabis, but for practicality and to avoid anomalies where a person is deemed criminal if consuming cannabis in private properties.
With regards to the expungement of criminal records, the Labour Party adds that this should be considered for other minor crimes, without prejudice to sentences handed down by the Criminal Court. This, PL adds, helps social inclusion and reintegration, while helping the fight against social prejudice.
Speaking in March, Prime Minister Robert Abela said that the country has been discussing this issue for years but nobody wanted to introduce the necessary reforms. “We’ve seen young people and other cannabis users arrested, prosecuted and having their police records tainted and futures ruined. We cannot ignore these realities anymore and we must be sensitive and responsible in our way forward.”
The consultation process ends on Tuesday May 11, and submissions can be sent on [email protected].