The Maltese Authority of Responsible Use of Cannabis visits The Netherlands.
In a Europe nearing the end of the pandemic, day Dec. 14, the Republic of Malta surprised everyone and became the first country in the EU to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
What are the main points of this new law?
- Possession of cannabis up to 7 gr. for personal use
- Cultivation of up to 4 plants per apartment
- Up to 50 gr. of dried flowers in the home
Between a plant and an extract, I came up with the idea of inviting Ms. Mariella Dimech, President of the ARUC (Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis), here in the Netherlands, to get her inspiration from Europe's only regulation of recreational cannabis, the Tolerated Policy *.
The goal was to show her both the positives and negatives of the past 30 years of cannabis in the Netherlands to enable it to create the best regulatory system for cannabis and thus inspire all other European countries to follow this strategy.
So I used all my available tools to organize an agenda that covered all the necessary aspects of the subject and to get the clearest possible picture of the situation.
First stop at Dizzy Duck
The first day of meetings began in beautiful and very elegant The Hague, where we were guests of Coffeeshop Dizzy Duck, which - with a very warm welcome - opened its doors to us and satisfied all the curiosity of the chairman by answering her questions .
We began by explaining the Opium Law and the tolerance policy, taking into account the individual experience of the worker in the industry: from the director to the budtender.
We showed you the simple transaction with a customer, the organization of the space and all the technologies needed for tracking, sales and work in general.
This was an important topic for the president to get ideas on how a possible Cannabis Social Club could be organized on Maltese territory.
Meeting at Wageningen University
After a lunch offered by the house based on French fries and a thousand different sauces, it was time to go to one of the most advanced European universities: the University of Wageningen. The meeting I organized took place in Radix, the university's Plant Sciences Department, with the participation of Professor Leo Marcellis and my good friend PhD Mexx Helweg.
The fundamental points of this meeting were the analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of growing cannabis indoors or in greenhouses and of all the technologies introduced to ensure the best possible quality to the end customer. Professor Marcellis' experience was able to give President Mariella Dimech insight into the best quality control and hygiene protocols to be implemented for future Maltese facilities and to get a clear picture of how a cannabis facility operates.
After visiting all the university facilities, with smiles on their faces and much satisfaction, we thanked and greeted our Wageningen friends.
The fundamental points of this meeting were to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of growing cannabis indoors or in greenhouses and all the technologies introduced to ensure the best possible quality to the end customer. Professor Marcellis' experience was able to give President Mariella Dimech insight into the best quality control and hygiene protocols to be implemented for future Maltese facilities and to get a clear picture of how a cannabis facility works.
After visiting all of the university's facilities, with smiles on their faces and much satisfaction, we thank and greet our Wageningen friends.
Time to go to Eindhoven!
The next day is a day to devote to cannabis culture and its activism. When I think about this, my thoughts always go to Eindhoven and to a journalist to whom the cannabis community owes so much. I am talking about the journalist Derrick Bergman. Derrick, who among other things also founded VOC Netherlands, is a good friend who is always ready when it comes to sharing interesting ideas and projects. Introducing Mariella Dimech to Derrick Bergman took me to another dimension, a dimension where one of the leading Dutch cannabis culture experts meets with a prominent political figure to share his experience and give his opinion on future steps of Maltese legalization.
Thus comes my dream of seeing cannabis politics and culture working together to create a new course of action in the name of all the injustices committed in the nearly 100 years of cannabis prohibition and the war on drugs.
After talking for a few hours, Derrick decides to accompany us to Coffeeshop Pink where owner Lisa Lankes, a historic fighter on the Dutch coffee shop front, will be waiting for us. This woman's tenacity has allowed her to define her ideas and opinions on the past 30 years of Dutch cannabis and on the mistakes that should not be repeated. After a few cappuccinos, it is time for Mariella Dimech to return to Malta and reflect on the information gained during these two days in the Netherlands.
They were two very intense days in which we crossed the country from one side to the other and talked almost exclusively about cannabis. I believe this experience greatly benefited the main political figure of this new gamble on Maltese cannabis. The Dutch experience on cannabis is certainly the most complete we have, since it is based on a period of almost forty years. It is precisely the many contradictions that present us with examples that can be used in defining the best way to regulate cannabis in Malta and in other European countries.