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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

Heisman trophy winner Ricky Williams' very best Austin day

Former player Ricky Williams of the Texas Longhorns stands on the sideline of a football game in 2016, flashing a Hook 'Em sign. Photo: Brian Bahr/Getty Images

We recently caught up with Ricky Williams, the famed former University of Texas football player and Heisman trophy winner, who now lives full-time in California, but travels to Austin regularly to visit his kids.

  • Williams recently launched a cannabis lifestyle branding company called Highsman, and he's a professional astrologer.
Updated 12 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.