Could it be true? Are we finally seeing leniency in accordance with the new cannabis laws? A few days ago, the court imposed a fine on a Mellieha resident who was found to have a ‘cannabis growing chamber’ according to the police in 2013.
English resident charged with importing cannabis
English resident, Matthew Mark Anthony McDonnell, 41, was previously charged with importing marijuana grass, being in possession of weed plants and marijuana resin, and cultivating cannabis plants in 2015. Although the police raided his home to find four plants over a meter in height, McDonnell denied the charges.
Officers at the time described McDonnell’s bedroom as a ‘cannabis-growing chamber’ since it has been modified in a way to make it more suitable for the growing and cultivation of marijuana.
When questioned McDonnell admitted to the police that he would regularly smoke and purchase cannabis and that he had grown the plants from seeds that he had purchased in Holland. The seeds that he was growing were auto-flowering female plants which contained more THC than male ones.
However, McDonnell had no intention of selling marijuana, he tells Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras. His sole purpose for growing marijuana was so that he could have supplied for the winter months. His claim was supported by the fact that the plants he was growing in his bedroom were deemed to be quite ‘small’.
One would have thought that due to this case being a 2013 case and the fact that he has recently been convicted, McDonnell could have been sent to prison for up to 10 years, based on the previous law. However, the court noted the legal amendments that were introduced in 2021 which decriminalised the growing of up to four cannabis plants at home, provided that they will only be used for personal use. Although the apartment was not McDonnell’s residence, the court was lenient towards this fact and took into account his explanation as to why he cultivated them in the first place.
McDonnell was found guilty of cultivating cannabis and fined by the court.
In view of these recent amendments, the court found McDonnell guilty of cultivating the plants and in possession of marijuana. However, after taking his clean criminal record into account, together with the fact that he had gone to rehab, he was fined €750.
Albeit this leniency, the government is still playing catch-up to build a framework for people to purchase cannabis buds and seeds legally.
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