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Malta Becomes First Country In EU To Legalize Adult Use Cannabis

Malta Malta

The country will edge out Luxembourg, Germany, and Portugal to create a fully functioning, federally legal cannabis market

Malta has just become the first EU country to formally legitimize an adult-use cannabis market. The Maltese Parliament voted to move forward on the same on December 14. All that is needed now is the signature of the President (a mere formality).

There will be a formal government agency established to oversee the industry. Regulated sales will be allowed to occur in shops. Home grow will be allowed.

How Will This Impact Recreational Reform Across Europe?

While cannabis reform and of both the medical and recreational kind, has been moving forward steadily in Europe, driven by Germany, over the last four years, 2021 and even more so 2022, is likely to be considered “Ground Zero” in terms of finally moving the recreational conversation over the finish line across the region.

Even Holland is formalizing its market on a national level. Beyond this, of course, Luxembourg will establish a limited recreational market, Portugal is likely to do so as is Italy. And of course, right in the middle of it all, even if not in the EU, Switzerland is moving ahead as of next year.

There are, beyond “domino” discussions, however, other interesting developments potentially afoot with this development. The first of course is financing for the industry, no matter where it is based in Europe. 

The second is what this development will do to the entire reform discussion in the UK. Like Canada, Malta is in the Commonwealth. It now becomes the second commonwealth country to formally legitimize the drug. Beyond this, of course, another commonwealth country, namely South Africa, is also about to move forward on significant cannabis reform.

Whatever happens, as a result, will begin to move reform forward not just within the EU, but potentially as a formal policy of the Commonwealth. This in turn, beyond regional pressure from the EU, may in turn finally convince policymakers at the UN to take the next step and enact truly global cannabis reform.

None of this will happen overnight, of course, and despite all the excitement, there is plenty of ground to cover from merely passing cannabis reform to implementing it on the ground.

Regardless, it is an important step, and further one that casts yet another encouraging light on the entire recreational cannabis conversation across Europe – if not a bit further afield than this.

The International Cannabis Business Conference returns to Europe in 2022 in Barcelona, Berlin, and Zurich.