From delay to ignition for the establishment of Cannabis Clubs in Malta. The country which intended to open its first social clubs in 2022 postpones the opening of license applications to 2023.
The Responsible Cannabis Use Authority (CURA) will be able to begin accepting applications for cannabis club licenses by next February, according to Parliamentary Secretary Rebecca Buttigieg.
Speaking in Parliament, Ms Buttigieg said prospective cannabis associations will be able to apply for a license next year, remarks reported by MaltaToday.
Malta legalized cannabis last year, allowing people to grow up to four cannabis plants in their private residence. Apart from self-cultivation, cannabis associations are the only legal way for people to obtain cannabis products. However, no Cannabis Club currently has the right to form.
Cannabis Clubs are associations of growers who pool their resources and share the harvest among their members.
A regulatory authority, ARUC, was set up as part of the reform to regulate these associations. The Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis was to regulate the sector while carrying out actions to educate, raise awareness and mobilize players in the sector.
Mariella Dimech, a former coordinator of drug addiction programs at Caritas, was the authority’s first executive chairwoman. She was appointed in 2021 for a three-year term, but was sacked from her post earlier this month.
In a statement announcing her dismissal, Ms Dimech said she had spent her term working with “no staff, no budget and a political and decision-making strategy that I disagreed with”.
Leonid McKay, a former director of Caritas who was rather cautious about the legalization of cannabis, has since been appointed executive chairman of the authority, to the chagrin of local pro-legalization associations.
“Releaf Malta does not endorse newly appointed President Leonid Mckay because of his previous prohibitionist stances against people who use cannabis and years spent at Caritas dehumanizing the voices of people who use cannabis and labeling us as sick patients in need of rehabilitation,” Releaf Malta said.