Much more research needs to be carried out before any suitably informed decision can be reached about the legalisation of cannabis, the Richmond Foundation said on Wednesday.

Adding its voice to that of other stakeholders on the proposed reform, it also said that evidence-based information should be made available to the public before any decision is taken.

According to the proposal, cannabis users will be allowed to grow their own plants at home and legally carry up to seven grams of the drug for personal use. 

Prime Minister Robert Abela said during the announcement that the government is open to hearing suggestions about how the sale of cannabis and cannabis seeds could be safely regulated.  The white paper is open to public consultation until May 11. 

Richmond said in its reaction that it appreciated the use of cannabis as a medicinal product upon prescription and with the decriminalisation of possession for personal use. Such action, it said, would reduce the negative impact on people’s lives.

However, it disagreed with allowing the plans to be grown in homes.

“Through our therapy services we understand that the use of cannabis is already wide-spread, with a number of people using in a self-controlled manner. 

“We understand that for some people regulated use of cannabis may increase the quality of life, serving a self-medicating purpose,” it said.

But it added that “for others, the use of cannabis contributes towards a clear decrease in the quality of life”.

People using frequently, or extensive amounts may appear numb and have restricted social engagement.  Consequently, this may result in impaired personal development, Richmond said.

It said it was also cognisant of a wide range of research about the impact of cannabis use on young people, and how it may affect their development, be it physiological or social and educational.

Richmond’s position in full may be read in the pdf link below.

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