Malta Slow to Issue Licenses to Regulated Cannabis Associations

Malta Slow to Issue Licenses to Regulated Cannabis Associations - GCI Content Hub - Global Cannabis Intelligence

The drive towards recreational cannabis in Malta has seemingly stalled, as the country’s Authority on the Responsible Use of Cannabis (ARUC) has failed to issue licenses to associations, despite new legislation passing last year.

Signed into Maltese law in December 2021 by President George Vella, Legal Notice 478 permits restricted use and possession of cannabis for recreational purposes.

The new cannabis legislation in Malta enables those aged 18 or over to carry up to 7g on their person, without risk of prosecution. Citizens are allowed to grow up to four plants at home, permitting up to 50g of cannabis flower stored for personal use.

Moreover, this legislative change gave power to ARUC in overseeing the establishment of regulated, licensed cannabis associations, where registered members would be able to buy a limited amount of flower or seeds for their home grow.

Such associations should be run as non-profits, have no more than 500 members, and operate over 250m away from schools and youth centres.

What is the Current State of Play for Recreational Cannabis in Malta?

At the time of the new law coming to pass, Minister Owen Bonnici, one of the driving forces behind recent changes to cannabis policies, said: “The entry into force of this robust legislative framework underlines this government’s willingness to make bold decisions by implementing wise and unprecedented reforms in order to bring about change and social justice in the best interests of society as a whole”.

However, months on from this landmark policy shift, Maltese consumers are no closer to being able purchase cannabis at local associations or cannabis clubs.

Not only have licenses yet to be issued, but perhaps more worrying for would-be license holders, regulatory guidance has not been published by ARUC, reports The Times of Malta.

Mariella Dimech, Chairperson for ARUC highlighted the current state of play: “No licences have been issued yet, however, we are working hard to establish a sound regulatory and monitoring system for when the applications are out”.

Defending the process, Dimech continued, saying that: This is a delicate process that cannot be done overnight.”

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