The Chamber of Pharmacists has added its voice to calls for President George Vella not to sign the cannabis use regulation bill, once it reaches his desk.

The bill sailed through the committee stage of legislation last week, with the government refusing to take on board any changes suggested by NGOs and the Opposition.

It is now awaiting the third reading in parliament - which is normally a formality - before it is sent to the president for his signature, but it has been placed well down the agenda of House.

Times of Malta has asked the Office of the President what it will do, but received no reply.

The Chamber of Pharmacists said it was 'gravely concerned' that the bill  had reached the third reading stage without any of the amendments.

"Under the prevailing situation, the Kamra calls on Your Excellency, as President of Malta, and a medical doctor by profession, to refrain from signing the legislation, in the best interest of the population you represent and safeguard, present and future generations, and use your acumen and moral and institutional authority to redirect it to the Committee stage, where the expert submissions and amendment proposals are considered in bona fide by the Government to reach a just, fair and equitable conclusion, based on science and beneficence, on this controversial bill - the objective of which seems to be to the benefit of no one except suppliers of cannabis, licit or illicit," the Chamber wrote in a letter to the President.

It said it endorses the positions expressed by other health care professional associations and unions in particular the concerns for health and safety at the place of work and practice.

It insisted that under the current version of the proposed legalisation paradigm the State effectively condones unlimited, all day, every day exposure to extremely high concentrations of THC, other cannabinoids and cannabis tars.

"This is not the way forward for our youth and our society," it said. 


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