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ReLeaf expresses concern on medicinal cannabis patients’ rights

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ReLeaf expresses concern on medicinal cannabis patients' rightsReLeaf has expressed its concern at the latest developments related to medicinal cannabis in Malta and patients’ rights.

In a statement ReLeaf said that it had noted that a new “discriminatory practice is being imposed on medicinal cannabis patients,” negatively impinging on their rights and freedoms as equal citizens of Malta.”

“As reported by some media, doctors have a legal obligation to inform the Commissioner of Police that a patient is using medicinal cannabis and thus proceed with the revocation of the driving licence”, it said.

ReLeaf went on to say that, patients that apply for medicinal cannabis will be forced to give up their driving licence in accordance with the Eighth Schedule, Regulation 34, 45A (Minimum standards of physical and mental fitness for driving a power driven vehicle of Subsidiary Legislation 65.18 Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations.

“As prescribed by the law, driving licences will not be issued to, or renewed for, applicants or drivers who regularly use psychotropic substances, in whatever form, which can hamper the ability to drive safely where the quantities absorbed are such as to have an adverse effect on driving, This applies to all other medicinal products or combinations of medicinal products which affect the ability to drive,” the pressure group said.

ReLeaf continued by saying that it recognises that the psychoactive nature of THC based medications could hamper the ability to drive or operate machinery, however it does not understand why these same parameters are not used with other psychotropic medications, such as sleeping pills.

The group pointed out that it is also not clear on which levels could the consumption of THC result as a danger and the time lapse needed between the last medication and the possibility to drive safely.

“The revocation of the driving license is further unexplainable when considering the effects of CBD based products. CBD, as declared by the World Health Organisation, has no psychoactive properties and does not affect the person’s psychomotor skills,” it said.

“Therefore, it is not clear how the law intends to protect society when in reality it has not scientifically quantified the risk of using cannabis and driving, the pressure group added.

Whilst recognising that the safety of the individual and other drivers is of paramount importance, ReLeaf said that it feels that the current approach is not aimed to promote road safety but is another attempt at demonising cannabis.

ReLeaf Malta explained that this will scare patients away from seeking medical advice and revert back to the black market for their medicine. “Furthermore, it also reinforces the false idea that medicinal cannabis patients will use the medicine in an irresponsible manner and create havoc on the streets of Malta.”

ReLeaf concluded by calling on local authorities to reconsider this discriminatory and non-evidence based approach and consult doctors and medicinal cannabis patients for a better understanding of how cannabis acts on the mind and body.

ReLeaf Malta was formed last year and is a community-based pressure group that seeks the regulation of cannabis in Malta through safe and sensible policies.

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