How it came to be legal and the benefits of medical cannabis in Malta
Not too long ago, in the year 2018 to be exact, Malta made the step to legalise cannabis for medical use. Upon this legalisation, Malta applied to import 15 kilos of cannabis for medical purposes.
The amendments to the Drug Dependence Act (Treatment not Imprisonment) were enacted on the 26th of March 2018 by the Maltese parliament after the third reading.
How Medical Cannabis in Malta Came About
The law allows family doctors to prescribe medical cannabis to patients, who will be able to access non-smoking forms of medicine at pharmacies with a doctor’s prescription after a control card has been approved by the Superintendent of Public Health.
There are three conditions that are eligible to be treated by medical cannabis in Malta:
- Chronic pain
- Spasticity in multiple sclerosis
- Side effects of chemotherapy
At the time, Malta Enterprise approved five projects related to the production of medical cannabis with a total investment of €30 million.
The Benefits of Medical Cannabis
The advantages of regulating medical cannabis in Malta include the ability to provide relief to those that require cannabis medically for health-related problems. However, it also helped with the removal of criminal and punitive measures for drug users within society and served as a way for Maltese citizens to take part in the industry and boost its economy in a legal and regulated way.
However, without the necessary approval, licenses and authorisations, the cultivation, importation, and processing of medical cannabis cannot be carried out on the Maltese Islands.
If an individual or a company wants to carry out any of the above activities, they are required to comply with the Act by getting through a number of administrative steps first.
- Obtain a letter of intent from Malta Enterprise.
- All regulations must be followed as well as any international obligations resulting from a treaty to which Malta may be a party.
- There should be full compliance with all regulations relating to the production and quality standards of products that are covered by the Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Research Purposes Act and the Medicines Act.
- Once all this is done, a license will be granted by the regulatory authority.
- The individual or company must ensure that they remain compliant with the requirements and to any future changes to the laws.
How to Buy Medical Cannabis
In order to buy medical cannabis or CBD legally in Malta, you will need a government medical card from a government-approved doctor. The doctor must state that all other medications have been tried and tested before resorting to cannabis.
Here are the steps that you need to take before purchasing medical cannabis in Malta.
Request a Drug Control Card
A doctor will need to fill this out for you and sign a form. You will need to submit it, together with, your green prescription. This is considered an enormous responsibility from your doctor as they can lose their license if medical cannabis is prescribed lightly.
This drug control card is only valid for 10 months and this system is used by the Ministry for Health to monitor narcotic and psychotropic drugs.
Apply for a Medical Cannabis Permit
You will need both the drug control card and this permit as your official government documents before buying medical cannabis or CBD. This permit also includes your doctor’s involvement. The permit can take months to be processed.
Fill out your prescription at a pharmacy
Despite having Sativex available, it is very difficult to get to this stage. We are hoping that the situation changes sooner rather than later and there are a lot of policymakers who are pushing for more relaxed doors when it comes to obtaining a medical cannabis license. The importation of cannabis products is still illegal in Malta.
On another note, Malta will now be allowed to cultivate up to four cannabis plants for their own personal, exclusive, and recreational use. These plants have to be grown in a space that is not visible to the public and can be made use of by people living in that same household. All this, and more, can be found in the Maltese government white paper that was released early in 2021.
Keep checking out our blog for more tips and updates on cannabis in Malta!