Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party said it welcomed Government's proposal to change legislation on use of drugs for personal use. Should this be approved by parliament, first-time offenders in possession of drugs for their own personal use would receive a formal warning rather than undergo court proceedings.
Michael Briguglio, AD Chairperson, said: "Those in possession of drugs for personal use should not be sent to prison, and if anything, should be helped if they have problems related to addiction. Malta's prison is overcrowded, and recidivism is rampant. Sending drug users to prison is only aggravating problems".
"AD reiterates its support for Sedqa clinical director George Grech towards the decriminalization of drugs for personal use. Drug addiction is a disease not a crime and the main sufferers are the addicts and their families. Punishing them further serves to no purpose. We are pleased to note that even certain elements of the media, such as The Sunday Times, are noticing the anomalies that exist on this issue".
"Another serious problem is the lack of classification distinguishing between soft and hard drugs when sentencing drug dealers. Whilst drug dealing should be a punishable crime, the treatment of cannabis and other soft drugs in the same way as cocaine and heroin is nothing more than an incentive to drug dealers to invest in the latter – where the big money is – since if caught they’ll end up receiving the same punishment".
Angele Deguara, AD Spokesperson for social policy, said: "The court decisions which have recently been meted out tend to raise a number of questions such as whether the decision always tallies with the seriousness of the crime or whether foreigners and Maltese are treated in the same way. It is doubtful whether locking up people in cases of drugs for personal use will be of benefit to both offenders and society."