I begin with my humble words which are expressed from the bottom of my heart and fruit of my experience. Chapter 10 of the Book of Proverbs in the Bible states: “Like choice, silver is the Just man’s tongue, but the tongue of the wicked is of little worth. The lips of the Just know how to please, but the mouth of the wicked how to pervert.”

I was deeply shocked when I read lately in the newspapers that the proposed cannabis reform is a matter of “harm reduction”.  Every citizen in Malta has an urgent obligation towards young people but to say that the cannabis reform is “harm reduction” is an overstatement.

I am quoting the following Irish expert, Eddie Fitzgerald SDB, from my book Crimes of the Innocent, which was published in 1999. He dedicated most of his life to drug addicts:

“There is no such thing as a harmless drug. All drugs are potentially destructive. Too many people still believe the myth that cannabis (marijuana, pot, hash) is relatively innocuous. All the evidence today shows that this is simply not true. Cannabis is now known to have adverse effects on the brain, impairing judgement, memory and coordination.

“It affects the lung, interfering with pulmonary functions and carrying a greater risk of cancer than heavy cigarette smoking. It attacks the immune and reproductive systems. More subtly, but no less harmfully, it prevents adolescents from becoming mature, responsible adults by offering them an escape from the inevitable tensions and difficulties of growing up” (Drugs, by Eddie Fitzgerald SDB).

I hope that this makes us reflect deeply. I am concerned for the parents who are struggling to educate their children. Everybody in Malta, especially politicians, are duty-bound to reflect deeply as they have the responsibility to defend our children's integrity.

The root of this problem lies primarily in the fact that one’s faith in God diminishes and life becomes miserable and oppressive. In order to achieve personal fulfilment, then, one seeks substitutes, which will never make one happy,  instead, they oppress one’s conscience,  they drive away peace from one’s heart and lead towards disaster and a sense of personal condemnation.

One dehumanises oneself when making a choice for cannabis. It is an illusion to believe that these substances raise our dignity and respect. On the other hand, these create in society disorientation, humiliation and family problems. Ultimately, they destroy the person himself.

I beg all those responsible to keep Malta clean from drugs- Fr Charles Cini

I would humbly like to ask all MPs: Would you be happy should your children become addicted to drugs? What responsibility are you taking as elected MPs in the name of those who elected you?

I urge parents and educators to speak up, please.

I give weight to my opinion as I refer to the teachings of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Deep within his conscience, man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths”.

Politicians play an important role in the drug battle. They should strive for the growth of a new conscience in the country. They should not be conditioned by anyone or anything. Many innocent people are suffering because they are weak.

In Malta, we share the same drug problem as other countries all over the world. Politicians always promise to fight the drug problem in Malta but nothing happens. These are all vague and fake promises, which are used by them to win votes. Drugs are money and there is far too much interest.

I beg all those responsible to keep Malta clean from drugs and to grant our children a clean environment.

This battle is not about politics but about conscience.

Fr Charles Cini is a member, Salesians of Don Bosco.

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