The decriminalisation of drugs in Malta has actually seen the number of people charged with possession double since the law changed four years ago.
Parliamentary figures tabled by Justice Minister Owen Bonnici show that since 2015, just under 3,000 people have appeared before the courts or tribunal. No distinction between the two was made.
In the year the law changed, around 427 people were charged with drug possession. However, since then an average of 712 people have gone in front of the courts or tribunal every single year.
When it comes to drug trafficking, 617 people have been charged with the crime over the same period. However, it should be noted that this tells far from the full story, with legal loopholes meaning people with as little as 6 grams considered as potential traffickers.
Recently, a woman was sentenced to six months in prison for holding just 6.5 grams of cannabis.
The decision brought widespread criticism, including lawyer and government consultant Robert Musumeci, who called for a change to legislation.
Drug trafficking in Malta also does not solely apply to people looking to import and sell illicit substances. Rather, if you were to dare share any of your drugs with a friend, you’ll find yourself guilty of trafficking by a sharing.
Just last September, a 22-year old youth was sentenced to six months in prison for giving an ecstasy pill to a friend.
The figures come just as Malta gears itself to debate on the introduction of recreational marijuana. The government has already made plans to manufacture the plant on an industrial scale and has already introduced its medical use.
However, “smoking the occasional joint” can still land you in court.