Confusion looming in Malta as the arrest of a local doctor, Andrew Agius, for distributing cannabis mere months after the island became the first in Europe to legalize the drug. on March 10, Agius, aged 43, was arrested and charged with drug trafficking for importing cannabis and selling it to his patients to relieve back pain.
Aguis lawyers argued that the drug was not prohibited as it contains a small amount of THC which happen to be an active content in cannabis. The arrest has thrown into confusion Malta’s much-vaunted legalisation of cannabis, with NGOs and police unsure about what is illegal and what isn’t.
Recall that, on 14 December 2021, the Maltese parliament passed the controversial “Authority on the Responsible Use of Cannabis” Bill, with 36 votes in favour and 27 against. The bill was signed into law by Malta’s President George Vella four days later, Vella having rejected calls by its opponents for him to refuse to do so.
ReLeaf Malta, a pro-legalisation NGO, said that Agius’ arrest was an “appalling and worrying” development. “It clearly reflects a disjointed approach between what the law aims to achieve and realities on the ground,”