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Malta: ARUC awards first two licenses to cannabis associations



Leonid McKay, Executive Chairman of the Malta Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis (ARUC). Photo: DR

The Executive Chairman of the Authority for Responsible Use of Cannabis (ARUC), Leonid McKay, announced the granting of the first two licenses to cannabis associations in Malta. The first operational authorizations so that they can cultivate cannabis and act in the context of reducing harm related to adult use were granted to the associations KDD Society and Ta' Zelli. The distribution of cannabis to members must begin as soon as the associations have their first products available, but these must be tested by ARUC before being sold. Malta was the first country in Europe to legalize the adult use of cannabis, in December 2021.

At a press conference, McKay also informed that ARUC will not control the price of cannabis in any way, with this decision being up to each association. However, she noted that the price must compete with that of the illicit market, to discourage users from resorting to trafficking, something the government will not tolerate. The first sales are expected to be made in the first quarter of 2024.

In addition to the first two associations, there are four more that already have an initial license and are already at an advanced stage of obtaining a definitive operating license.

Cannabis in Malta will not be available to tourists

Mackay was very clear about possible cannabis tourism in the country: “We will not provide a market for tourists,” he said, as associations aim to regulate substance use, rather than promote it.

Members will have to pay a small fee to join the association, after an introductory interview, and will have to pay for their own cannabis. The associations will collect data from their members and, in the interview, candidates will be asked about their cannabis use, but also informed about how they can contribute to the community and what their responsibilities are as members.

The associations must have an average of around 250 members, will be non-profit and will have to donate part of their income to raise awareness about drugs: 5% of the total income must go towards “harm reduction”, carried out through from ARUC, and 10% will be allocated to educational initiatives to reduce substance consumption or other sustainable projects.

In addition to now being able to use associations to purchase a limited amount, adult cannabis users can also have up to seven grams of cannabis flowers in their possession and grow four plants at home.


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