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Decriminalise drugs for personal use - AD

Alternattiva Demokratika today appealed to the Nationalist and Labour parties to do away with drug populism and endorse its proposal for the decriminalisation of drugs for personal use.

It said this policy was successful in countries like Portugal and led to more safety and less crime.

Chairman Michael Briguglio said:

"Existing drug laws in Malta are out of synch with social trends. Legislation on alcohol and other drugs should be reformed so that people who are victims of drugs can be helped.

“This requires decriminalisation of drugs for personal use. Education remains a key tool for policies on drugs. People should be conscious of their various effects and, if they seek help, they should receive it.

“But criminalising people for making use of drugs has been a failure not only in terms of social policy but, even more so, with respect to those whose criminalisation has resulted in a spiral of hardships."

Spokesman Robert Callus said that drug laws in Malta, where someone who cultivated a couple of plants could get over a decade in prison, had to be radically reformed.

Anomalies in the law needed to be corrected.

Giving an example, he said, the cultivation of a plant in small quantities that clearly indicated only personal use should not be considered as the separate crime of cultivation which carried sentences to the equivalence of trafficking.

“If there's no intention to sell, it's personal use,” he said.

Mr Callus said that Malta also needed to start distinguishing between soft and hard drugs.

“Treating all drugs with the same brush is only an incentive for traffickers to import hard drugs, where the big money is.

“Drug policy should be based on research rather than on populism. It is by now abundantly clear that extremely harsh sentences for drug use are not a deterrent.”

He noted that countries, such as Portugal, that decriminalised the personal use of all drugs in 2001 did not see any significant rise in drug abuse.

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