Malta is the first country in the EU to legalize the cultivation and personal use of cannabis.
On Tuesday afternoon, Malta’s parliament voted in favor of the reform, with 36 votes in favor and 27 votes opposed.
Owen Bonnici, minister of equality, said the move would protect small-time cannabis users from the criminal justice system, and he said it would curb drug trafficking by allowing people to obtain cannabis in a safe and regularized manner.
A person will have the right to carry up to seven grams of cannabis, and grow no more than four plants in their homes. However, it will be illegal to smoke it in public or in front of children.
In the new regulations, anyone carrying more than seven grams of cash, but less than 28 grams, could be fined up to $112 (€100; £85). Anyone smoking cannabis in public will receive a $265 ( €235; £200) fine, and anyone smoking cannabis in front of anyone younger than 18 could receive a $563 (€500; £525) fine.
Cannabis seeds will be distributed through associations, thereby regulating how much is purchased and an individual can only be a part of one association.
Additionally, minors who are found in possession of cannabis will be offered care or treatment, rather than being arrested or charged with a crime.
In 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize marijuana for personal use and Canada became the second country to legalize in 2018. There are several nations with similar plans, including Germany, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. In countries like the Netherlands, cannabis is tolerated under certain circumstances.