The Malta Catholic Youth Network (MCYN), an entity of the Archdiocese of Malta which works with young people, published a position paper as part of the Government’s consultation process regarding the White Paper “Towards the Strengthening of the Legal Framework on the Responsible Use of Cannabis”.
MCYN, which represents more than a 100 youth groups and which has consistently supported recreational activities which aid the young person’s development and community building, is against the use of any psychoactive and/or harmful substance, whether it be legal or not.
Its main concern is that this White Paper may lead to the normalisation and popularisation of cannabis use amongst adolescents and young people, who may be misled into believing that cannabis use has no harmful effects.
MCYN states that the White Paper does not make a clear distinction between the benefits and harmful effects of recreational and medicinal cannabis, speaking of them as though their benefits and risks are equal. It insists that the risks and benefits of this psychoactive substance should not be presented on equal grounds.
MCYN agrees with the decriminalisation of cannabis for personal use by adults in such a way that those with substance dependence are not given a prison sentence but the opportunity to seek help from possible addiction. In addition to this, it suggests that educational campaigns teach the preventative measures that should be taken to stay away from substances such as cannabis.
It also proposes that the legislation makes provisions that not only safeguard minors and impede the use of cannabis among minors, but also protect and support adults with a higher risk of harm. This is due to the fact that studies have shown that the use of cannabis by young people below the age of 21-25 heavily increases the risks of the harmful effects of this substance.
The position paper is available on: www.mcyn.org/articles/position-paper-regarding-the-white-paper-on-cannabis-mcyn