Malta is set to become the first country in European Union (EU) to legalise the cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal use. The Responsible Use of Cannabis law will enable users to legally grow, purchase buds and seeds and carry up to seven gram of cannabis in public, according to The Malta Independent. Cannabis smoking in public will remain prohibited. Users can also grow four plants at home if they are concealed from public view with permission to store up to 50 gram of the dried product.

Possession of up to 28 gram can lead to fines up to €100 but with no criminal record. Under-18s will go before a commission for justice for the recommendation of a care plan rather than face arrest for possession. Those who consume cannabis in front of a child will be fined between €300 and €500.

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A vote in favour of the legislation on Tuesday will be followed by the law being signed by the president, Owen Bonnici, the minister concerned, told the Guardian UK. An online petition is urging government to review the law before it is enacted.

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The move by EU’s smallest member state is likely to trigger reform across Europe in 2022, while Canada, Mexico and 18 US states have already enacted similar legislation. Germany recently announced to establish a legally regulated market, following announcements by Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

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Italy is also planning a referendum on cannabis legalisation. “There is a wave of understanding now that the hard-fist approach against cannabis users was disproportionate, unjust and it was rendering a lot of suffering to people who are leading exemplary lives. But the fact that they make use on a personal basis of cannabis is putting them in the jaws of criminality,” Bonnici said.