Doctors are calling for the withdrawal of the government's whitepaper on cannabis, warning 

The proposal, according to the Medical Association of Malta, was "poorly thought out and presented without the input of health and social professionals who deal with the after effects of cannabis use". 

According to the proposal, unveiled in March, 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 had said the government was open to hearing suggestions about how the sale of cannabis and cannabis seeds could be safely regulated.  The white paper was open to public consultation until May 11.

MAM published a position paper on Monday, saying that Malta was recovering from the COVID pandemic and it was not the time to introduce measures which will "burden the health system".

"Cannabis use can have debilitating health effects. Increased use will need increased health infrastructure to cope with it," MAM claimed.

The proposed law did not address the increase in accidents seen elsewhere nor the consequences of accidental expose of children to cannabis, it added.

In its paper, MAM called for "suitable" treatment and support services for those affected by mental health consequences of cannabis use.

MAM's position:

  • It supports decriminalisation of recreational cannabis for personal use but is against legalisation of recreational cannabis, cannabis tourism or commercialism of recreational cannabis.  
  • believes that the harm associated with cannabis use should be viewed along the continuum of harms caused by both licit and illicit drugs.
  • believes cannabis users should be directed to education or treatment programs. Law enforcement should target the suppliers of cannabis.
  • supports development and use of evidence based harm reduction programs. 
  • recognises that children can have significant neurological effects as a result of accidental ingestion of cannabis. Doctors should consider cannabis ingestion in a toddler or child with reduced consciousness levels and with or without abnormal neurological findings. 
  • believes that school-based life skills programs that are evidence based can assist in preventing or reducing substance use problems. No child should be denied access to such programs. 
  • calls on the public not to use recreational cannabis to ease mental health conditions, and to seek professional medical services in such instances.

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