On Tuesday (today), Leonid McKay the Executive Chairperson of the Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis (ARUC) announced during a press conference, that in October the first operational licences were granted to two cannabis associations. At the moment, there are also four other associations awaiting the grant of their operational licence.
The two associations are KDD Society and Ta’ Zelli. Given that they were granted their operational licences they can now cultivate their own cannabis. However, the cannabis will be tested by ARUC before it is sold to members of the respective cannabis clubs.
He added that the two associations will be given training sessions on cannabis, harm reduction and health on the 28th and 29th of November, 2023. These sessions will be conducted with the participation of foreign researchers with vast experience in the sector of responsible use of cannabis. These will also be done in collaboration with Sedqa, which will be emphasising on prevention and harm reduction for adults under 21 years of age.
The ultimate purpose of the associations (also referred to as cannabis clubs) is to foster harm reduction. Under the licencing guidelines, published earlier this year, the cannabis associations will be required to be completely responsible for the cultivation and distribution of cannabis for the benefit of their members, in a non-profit manner.
Furthermore, Mr McKay said that ARUC will not be involved in the controlling of the pricing of cannabis whilst also projecting the prices to compete with those of the black market.
Nonetheless he highlighted that ARUC is seeking to actively avoid the commercialisation of cannabis in its work. He also made it clear that individuals whose objectives do not align with the authority’s mission are not encouraged to collaborate with them.
He also stated that these services will only be available for residents. “We will not be providing a market to tourists,” Mr McKay remarked.
ARUC will also be providing the list of approved associations with details on how to become a member.
Leonid McKay, former Caritas Director, was appointed as Executive Chairperson of ARUC this time last year, shortly after Mariella Dimech’s dismissal from the position. Mr McKay has a wide range of experience in leading public authorities, having worked in the social sector for a number of years. He is a Master of Arts in Social Policy graduate from University of Malta, and worked in different roles at Caritas Malta before he was named Director in 2014.
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