While the pioneering guidelines were a welcome step forward for Malta, which passed landmark legislation allowing adults to possess up to 7gs of cannabis for personal use in 2021, concerns were raised that the licence fees were likely to drive consumers back to the illicit market.
In an interview with local news publication Lovin Malta, head of ARUC Leonid McKay reassured industry stakeholders that they had taken these concerns onboard and were making changes.
“The authority understood that non-profit organisations would have initial cash flow problems, lack prior knowledge on their members’ consumption patterns, and have problems of longstanding financial commitments while the vetting process is ongoing.
“NPOs are already facing financial burdens and we must help them, particularly the small ones, in the first two years. I personally spoke to (Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms) Rebecca Buttigieg about it and we agreed that the licence fee will go down from a minimum €8,000 to a minimum €1,000 until we have full visibility of the situation, which will take around two years.”
In further efforts to reduce the financial burden on potential CHRAs, Mr McKay suggested licence fees will not need to be paid in advance, but can be payable in arrears, while plans are in place to slash the €1,000 registration fee for small associations to €500.