Malta’s cannabis reform advocacy group ReLeaf has accused the sector's former watchdog chair of reverting to a“prohibitionist stance” towards cannabis.

ReLeaf said Dimech had joined conservative organisations’ “fear-mongering tactics” when speaking about cannabis. 

“Together, over the past decades, these groups have in no small way, contributed to the discrimination, stigmatisation, and criminalisation of our community which the current government has duly noted and is wisely and cautiously addressing,” ReLeaf president Andrew Bonello said on Tuesday. 

Dimech was sacked as the first chair of the Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis (ARUC) just 10 months into the job and before any licences for cannabis associations were issued.  

She spoke out for the first time last week in an RTK Radio show.

Prior to her time as ARUC chair, she worked with drug rehabilitation service Caritas for 21 years, 10 of which saw her work as coordinator of Tama Ġdida radio programmes and services. 

Bonello said that with an ongoing reform that is progressing in the right direction, ReLeaf Malta remains dedicated to amplifying the community’s voice for restorative justice and human rights. 

“We firmly reject any attempts to undermine the years of voluntary work that have brought us to this point, including dialogue and cooperation with key experts in the field like Steve Rolles, Martin Jelsma, Oscar Pares and Tom Blickman, to name just a few,” he said. 

“Morally driven agendas inspired by prohibition and their stigmatising narratives have no role in advancing a just and effective drug policy reform grounded in public health, harm reduction and human rights.”


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