The Establishment of Cannabis Organisations in Malta

In December of 2021 Chapter 628 of the Laws of Malta, the Authority on the Responsible Use of Cannabis Act was approved by the Maltese Parliament and signed by the President of Malta. The approval of this Act has made Malta the first country within the EU to allow individuals to cultivate and have in their possession small amounts of cannabis for personal use. The introduction of this Act now allows persons over the age of 18 to legally carry up to 7g of cannabis and also allows for the cultivation at home of a maximum of four cannabis plants.

Aside from the numerous provisions introduced within this Act, there have also been a number of amendments made to other legislation, namely, the Drug Dependence Act which now allows for the establishment of cannabis-related associations. Article 7A of the Drug Dependence Act provides that it shall be permissible for an individual to establish, in their personal capacity and in their own names, an association with the sole purpose of cultivating cannabis and distributing such solely to members of the association.

In order for an association of this kind to be set up, it must be registered with the Authority on the Responsible Use of Cannabis, and prior to commencing its operations, it must obtain a permit from the Authority which may be subject to certain conditions. Once established, the association shall operate on a non-profit basis. EMD can assist with obtaining the required permit from the Authority as well as helping with the registration of the association.

Any individual can register as a member in one of such associations as long as he/she is not under the age of 18 and is not a member of another association of the same nature. The association can cultivate and distribute cannabis only to its members, which there may not be more than 500 at any given time. The cannabis must be distributed in containers that have on them distinctive marks which render the distribution of such containers by the association identifiable. The Association must ensure that such containers are sealed, and the shape, as well as any words printed thereon, must be approved by the Authority. In addition, at any moment in time, the association shall not have more than 500 grams of dried cannabis in any premises managed by it or in its possession and shall not cultivate more than the maximum amount of cannabis plants as is authorised by the Authority. Distribution to its members shall also be limited to 7 grams per member per day, and shall not exceed 50 grams per member per month.

Furthermore, associations are not permitted to advertise their activities in any manner whatsoever and no sort of indication of the activities related to cannabis, whether by signs, words, or designs, may be visible on, or from, the outside. Associations must also be located at least 250 metres away from the perimeter of any school, club, or youth centre, and must ensure that their presence does not cause nuisance within the locality in which it is situated.

In addition, all associations must keep a register of all its members which shall contain, as a minimum, the names and copies of the identity cards of all members. The association must also render an account in writing every 3 months to the Authority as to the amount of cannabis distributed to its members as well as the number of members forming part of the association.

EMD will of course be able to assist you with all documentation required for the registration and provide legal support for any queries that you may have.