The attitude towards recreational cannabis use is changing all over the world. This past week, Malta legalized recreational cannabis. Thailand did the same thing a little over a week ago. Although all the details have yet to be released, here is what we know about the new cannabis laws in Malta and Thailand.
Malta has become the first country in the European Union to legalize recreational cannabis. Last Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, The Maltese government voted on cannabis law reform. Thirty-six votes were in favor of the bill and twenty-seven were against. Certain details have been announced and many more have yet to come. So far, we know that:
- Adults will be allowed to carry up to seven grams of cannabis.
- A household will be allowed to grow a maximum of four plants and store up to fifty grams of dried flower.
- Smoking cannabis in public will be illegal and can result in a €235 fine ($340 CAD).
- Consuming cannabis in front of a minor will be illegal. The punishment for smoking cannabis in front of someone under the age of 18 will be a €500 fine ($723 CAD).
- If a minor is found in possession of cannabis, there will be no criminal consequences or fines. The minor will be referred to a treatment plan.
Malta Cannabis Law Reform – Reducing Crime
Out of all the countries in the European Union, Malta is considered to be one of the more conservative. Ninety percent of the population identifies as Roman Catholic. It begs the question, what motivated Malta to blaze the European trail and legalize recreational cannabis? To put it simply, the government is updating its cannabis laws so that they affect the illegal drug trade, not the average cannabis user; the idea is to reduce drug trafficking by providing a safe and regulated source.
In 2018, Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to legalize cannabis for medical use. This past week, the government announced plans to remove cannabis from its banned narcotics list. The new narcotics code took effect on Dec. 9, 2021. According to the public health Minister and deputy Prime Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, “What we have achieved so far is to declare that cannabis stems, roots, leaves, and sprigs are not drugs. Starting next year, we will remove everything – stems, roots, sprigs, leaves, buds, flowers, and seeds – from the narcotics list.”
Thailand Cannabis Law Reform – Boosting the economy
In Thailand, a large part of the economy is generated from the tourism industry. As one could imagine, the pandemic has had a devastating impact. This move is being made to help boost Thailand’s agricultural industry. The goal is to bounce back economically and the plan is to do it through cannabis.
- Citizens are being encouraged to start growing at home to supplement their income.
- There are no plant count restrictions; but, each household is required to ask for permission before they begin growing cannabis.
Starting as early as next year, it will be legal to grow, process, and consume recreational cannabis in Thailand.