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March 28, 2018, Malta
Malta, a country of extensive group of Islands located in the central Mediterranean, has taken a big leap to become one of the pioneers of MMJ in the European Union. Legislators there have recently passed a legislation that will make medical cannabis legal in the country. The law not only entails the patients’ access to medical cannabis, but also outlines the benefits of MMJ legalization for the economy.
The formulation of medical marijuana laws in Malta were going on for quite some time. The legislators were extensively reviewing and debating different propositions. Finally, they have come up with a piece of legalization.
According to media reports, the newly introduced legislation will allow family physicians to prescribe medical marijuana to patients. With a physician’s prescription, patients will be able to get their MMJ cards from the country’s Superintendent of Public Health. With their MMJ card and prescription, patients can buy medical cannabis from dispensaries. It’s worth mentioning that it is still illegal to administer MMJ through smoking.
The passing of MMJ law is being celebrated by cannabis advocates, lawmakers and other concerned parties. For instance, Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer protection has issued a statement on social media to term it as a proud moment for Maltese government that placed the welfare and well-being of patients above all. Common citizens and different cannabis advocate groups are also celebrating the legalization of medical cannabis on the internet.
While the newly passed MMJ law is being celebrated by many, some are also criticizing it for its limited scope. For example, the legislation only lists three medical conditions for which patients will become eligible to obtain medical cannabis. These conditions include multiple sclerosis, detrimental effects of chemotherapy and chronic pain.
ReLeaf is a well-known cannabis advocate group. Their members are of the thought that the law is very restrictive. For instance, therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis for health conditions such as glaucoma, nausea and epilepsy are accepted internationally, but they are not included in the program.
Similarly, some cannabis groups are also criticizing the law because smoking MMJ is still deemed illegal. The Cannabis Malta Social Club is reminding public regarding this limitation of the legislation. People who are caught smoking medical cannabis might face the revoking of their MMJ cards.
Nonetheless, the law has just been approved and in coming time it will certainly go through various rectifications and amendments. Some proponents are hopeful that more medical conditions will become part of the program in future.
While debates on the law’s usefulness for patients are still going on, it is certain that its implementation will aid the economy with increased business activity and new investors. According to officials, many foreign investors have already shown their interest in legalized cannabis operations of the country. The state’s investment agency has also approved five different projects supervised by companies from Israel, Canada and Australia. The collective investment of these projects equals to 30 million Euros. Moreover, they will also create around 200 jobs.