Church schools on Friday lambasted the government for rushing through cannabis legislation just before a national election.

The government this week tabled a bill in parliament that would allow cannabis users to grow plants at home or buy the substance from specially set up associations.

Smoking a joint in public will remain against the law and no one can carry more than seven grams of cannabis at any given time. The new rules were drawn up following a public consultation period on the white paper published in March. 

On Friday, the Secretariat for Catholic Education and the Church Schools Association expressed "serious concern" at the direction taken by the government to "rush through" the bill "at the tail end of this legislature".

The government, they added, had given very little indication of the feedback about its White Paper.

"Public reactions to the White Paper indicated that the majority of the feedback was highly critical of the proposal and the negative impact this would have on children and youths.

"However, the government has not given any information about this feedback and is insisting on rushing through legislation without considering these responses, including the strong appeal made by many for a researched study on the impact of such a proposal on society."

The bill, they insisted, should not be introduced a few weeks or months before an electoral campaign and at the end of a legislature. It merited a serious, mature and detailed national discussion.

SfCE and CSA said they worked with thousands of children and youths and felt the responsibility to voice "strong reservations on the dangerous path" the country would take if it enacted the reform bill.

They called for a "healthy national discussion".

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