Dec 14, 2021 - World

Malta becomes first European country to legalize recreational cannabis

Photo of two glass jars of dried cannabis

Dried CBD flowers during a CBD Expo show. Photo: Samuel Boivin/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Malta became the first European country to allow the cultivation and consumption of cannabis for recreational use on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The measure, which was approved with a 36-27 vote, is part of a global shift to decriminalizing cannabis.

Details: Adults will now be able to possess up to seven grams of cannabis and grow a maximum of four plants, per Reuters.

  • Smoking it in public is still against the law.
  • If someone is caught using the drug in front of a child, they could be fined up to 500 euros ($564).

What they're saying: Equality Minister Owen Bonnici has pushed back on accusations that the government is endorsing drug abuse.

  • "We are creating a system that gives people access to cannabis without being in touch with criminality and ensuring they obtain a clean product," Bonnici told Malta Today in October.

The big picture: Malta is positioning itself ahead of a growing trend in Europe.

  • In 2018, the Mediterranean country legalized the production of cannabis for research and medical use.
  • Luxembourg is also set to legalize growing cannabis plants, while Germany's new government had pledged to legalize consumption in licensed stores, according to the Washington Post.
Go deeper