Pubdate: Wed, 30 Jan 2013
Source: Times, The (Malta)
Copyright: 2013 Allied Newspapers Limited
Author: Waylon Johnston
Page: 1


A man campaigning to legalise cannabis yesterday took his case to the 
Constitutional Court, arguing that Malta's failure to distinguish 
between personal use and trafficking is discriminatory.

David Caruana, 30, who in December 2011 held a demonstration as part 
of his campaign to legalise the drug, has been charged with drug 
offences after allegedly growing a cannabis plant on a balcony at his home.

In a Constitutional application yesterday, Mr Caruana, who works with 
an online business and studies social sciences at the Open 
University, is claiming a breach of human rights.

He began publicly campaigning for the legalisation of cannabis about 
four years ago when he set up the Facebook group Legalise It Malta. 
Jose Herrera, who is representing Mr Caruana, said Maltese law did 
not distinguish between cultivation for trafficking purposes and 
doing so for personal use.

In fact, the law laid down that "the word ' dealing' includes cultivation".

Dr Herrera quoted from the ratified United Nations Convention Against 
Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1988, 
which, he noted, did make a distinction.

This said: "Subject to its constitutional principles and the basic 
concept of its legal system, each party shall adopt such measures as 
may be necessary to establish as a criminal offence under domestic 
law, the possession, purchase or cultivation of narcotic drugs for 
personal consumption."

He said once Malta ratified the convention it should become an 
integral part of the law and make the necessary changes, which the 
legislator had failed to do.

Dr Herrera pointed out that the discrimination also affected 
punishment because no distinction was made in relation to how many 
plants were in a defendant's possession.

In this case, he noted, his client was facing a maximum of 10 years in jail.
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