Despite dangers of marijuana, Malta and Germany appear set on legalization

Mental health risks and even reduced IQ have been tied to marijuana, yet Malta and many other EU countries are moving ahead with legalization

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Dénes Albert

If everything goes as predicted, Malta will be the first European country to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. The Maltese parliament votes on the issue today, and the new law could come into effect by the weekend.

The move comes despite numerous studies have shown that marijuana use can increase psychiatric disorders by up to five times in young people, as well as raising the risk for depression, suicide, and anxiety. These effects can continue into adulthood, according to research. Frequent cannabis use is also associated with lower IQ in young people. In fact, research shows that heavy users of marijuana as young people experience, on average, an 8-point drop in IQ even after they quit.

Under the new legislation proposed in Malta, people over the age of 18 can own up to seven grams of the drug or grow four cannabis plants at home and store 50 grams of it when dried, according to Hungarian news outlet Magyar Nemzet.

Maltese MP Owen Bonnici said the government did not want to encourage the use of drugs for leisure purposes, as there was no evidence that allowing the legalization of cannabis would pave the way for the use of harder drugs.

The smallest state in the European Union will soon be followed by many other countries on the continent.

Will Germany follow?

The newly formed German governing coalition also plans to legalize the sale of cannabis for free to the elderly. However, German society is divided on the issue, with 43 percent of the population supporting the new government’s plan, according to a survey by market research firm Civey, while 43 percent also oppose it – while 14 percent could not decide on the issue.

“The Netherlands is proving what a country is becoming because of a loose drug policy: a playground for organized crime. We strongly reject the planned legalization of cannabis,” said Markus Blume, a politician at the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), earlier.

Although the Netherlands is indeed famous for its lax approach to cannabis use, the use of the drug for leisure purposes is still illegal in the country. However, Amsterdam could soon follow in Malta’s footsteps along with Luxembourg and Switzerland, while a referendum in Italy could decide on the free use of cannabis.

The change in attitudes among European governments came after the United Nations (UN) decided last December to remove cannabis from its list of addictive and dangerous drugs.

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