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First Country In Europe Has Legalised Marijuana For Personal Use

First Country In Europe Has Legalised Marijuana For Personal Use

Ahead of suspected reforms by a number of other countries in Europe around the use of marijuana, one has already taken the plunge.

Simon Catling

Simon Catling

A European country has become the first on the continent to legalise the personal use of marijuana - and it's not the one you might think it would be.

The Netherlands has traditionally been the most strongly associated with cannabis due to the relaxed attitude its government has over its usage there.

However, possession and trade are technically illegal and authorities operate a gedoogbeleid - 'tolerance policy' - whereby use is largely accepted within bounds.

And now, according to The Guardian, Malta will pip Luxembourg to being the first European country to legalise cannabis as part of a raft of changes to its drug laws.


It will be legal to possess up to seven grams of the drug for people aged 18 and above, and it will permissible to grow up to four cannabis plants at home, with up to 50g of the dried product storable.

Definitely more than enough for a good blaze, right?

The legislation will be voted for in the Maltese parliament on Tuesday (14 December) before being signed into law in order for it to be enacted by the weekend.

Owen Bonnici, the minister responsible for the move, told the Guardian: "There is a wave of understanding now that the hard-fist approach against cannabis users was disproportionate, unjust and it was rendering a lot of suffering to people who are leading exemplary lives.

"But the fact that they make use on a personal basis of cannabis is putting them in the jaws of criminality."

He added: "I'm very glad that Malta will be the first country which will put words in statute in a comprehensive manner with a regulatory authority".

Bonnici went on to say that his government had conducted a long debate over whether to put in controls on the strength of cannabis that can be grown and used.


He said: "We had a huge discussion internally on that. And we concluded that if a limit [can be put] on the strength of the cannabis, the THC levels, you will be creating a new market for the black market.

"What we need to do is to educate people and inform them day after day."

Malta is the first of likely many European countries to move towards legalising marijuana. For instance, Germany has recently announced that they intend to create a legally regulated market, with other countries including Switzerland and the Netherlands also announcing similar proposals.

A referendum in Italy is also planned, while across the Atlantic, Canada, Mexico and 18 US states have already enacted similar legislation.

There's no such luck in the UK, however, with Boris Johnson's UK government drawing comparisons with late President Richard Nixon's 'war on drugs' in the US in the 20th century, after keeping up its tough approach to cannabis use.

It's also intending to make criminal sanctions for the users of class A narcotics the focal point of a recently published 10-year strategy around drugs.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: World News, Marijuana