A proposal to introduce cannabis membership clubs for recreational users has been cautiously welcomed by Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech, who said that the idea addressed a problem he had first flagged. 

“This is yet another instance of how the Opposition is making change happen,” Grech said, in a brief social media post reacting to details of a bill that would radically change the country’s cannabis laws. 

Grech said that he looked forward to the bill being published and it being debated in parliament so that the PN could “submit the amendments necessary”. 

The bill, which will be published in the Government Gazette this week, was tabled in parliament on Monday for a first reading. It expands on proposals first made in a white paper last March by proposing the establishment of cannabis membership associations, to be run as NGOs, which will provide users with a legal way of purchasing the drug. 

The white paper had proposed allowing users to carry up to 7g of the drug, grow plants at home and called on stakeholders to submit their ideas for how the drug could be made available for purchase legally. 

Although more than 300 stakeholders submitted feedback to the white paper, the PN was not among them and the party has yet to adopt an official position on cannabis reform. 

Grech had however argued last August that any reform had to tackle the issue of how cannabis could be bought. 

“Otherwise, the relaxation of laws will simply strengthen the black market and still benefit organised crime,” he had said at the time. 

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