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Petition No.: 1 Signatures: 257

Fourteenth Legislature (2022 - )

Details - Online

Legal Notice to clarify legal status of Cannabidiol (CBD) established through ACT No. LXVI of 2021
Date petition closes for signatures
Creator of petition
Criminalisation of Cannabis under 0.2%THC (in any form) is outside the scope of the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance Act, the Drug Dependence (Treatment not Imprisonment) Act, and the UN Drug Control Conventions (1961, 1971, 1988).

Amendments in 2021 to the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance established that:

"Cannabis" means the inflorescence and leaves of any plant of the genus Cannabis and includes any resin obtained from the said plant and any preparations derived from the said plant, but does not include its seeds, or cannabinoid products containing not more than zero-point two (0.2) percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC);

Hemp is a crop grown across Europe and in recent years the area dedicated to hemp cultivation has increased significantly from 19,970 hectares (ha) in 2015 to 34,960 ha in 2019 (a 75% increase). Due to the very low level of THC, hemp complying with the provisions of the Common Agricultural Policy is not used to produce narcotic drugs.

In 2020 the WHO explained that CBD is found in cannabis and cannabis resin but does not have psychoactive properties and has no potential for abuse and no potential to produce dependence. “Preparations containing predominantly cannabidiol and not more than 0.2 per cent of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol are not under international control”.

In summary, CBD has no potential for abuse, is allowed within the EU, and has been identified in Maltese legislation as being separate from cannabis with a higher THC content of 0.2%. Therefore, the focus is on the THC contents, and not the physical appearance of cannabis. Nonetheless, various people are being arrested and accused of importing cannabis prohibited under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance Law, even when THC contents are below 0.2%. The prosecutor is completely ignoring amendments enacted in 2021 whereby a definition of cannabis, as pertaining to a regulated substance, is based on the levels of THC (above 0.2% THC) and not on physical appearance or other interpretations.
Wherefore I/we respectfully request the House of Representatives to
1) Discuss with urgency grey area related to the status of Cannabidiol (CBD) and publish a legal notice to clarify the legal status of CBD products, in all forms thus including, but not limited to; flowers, hash, edibles, oils, topical creams, fiber, extracts etc

2) According to EU law, ensure CBD is considered as a ‘novel food’ and not as a controlled substance

3) Establish a public consultation on CBD, Hemp and agricultural opportunities
Closing remarks
The negative effects caused by a criminalised and draconian approach to address drug use in society continue to wreak havoc in the lives of many peaceful, productive and law-abiding citizens. The trauma of being arrested by the police, and in some cases having all personal belongings confiscated and finances frozen until further investigations are carried out, is a cruel and unsustainable way how to address the well-being of society. The historic amendments enacted in 2021 recognised, in part, the wrong doings of the past, and have in fact shifted Maltese legislation closer towards a human rights based approach to cannabis policy. Most importantly, they brought significant changes to the lives of many non-violent people who consume and cultivate cannabis. As society is now witnessing a new weapon levied against people who consume CBD, the Maltese House of Representatives, has an opportunity to rectify these human rights abuses and ensure better implementation of the core principles included in the law. In conclusion, further clarifications of the law will ensure that the spirit of a human rights and evidence-based approach to drug policy is enacted both on paper and on the ground.