Cannabis bill seeks harm-reduction approach – PM / Malta News Briefing – Tuesday 23 November 2021

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Times of Malta said Prime Minister Robert Abela has backed his political rival Roberta Metsola’s bid to be the next European Parliament president.

MaltaToday says Prime Minister Robert Abela says government will insist Steward Healthcare adheres to its contractual obligations but will not pay €100 million penalty if American company pulls out

Newsbook says underlining the importance of education and prevention, Archbishop Charles Scicluna said “drugs and drug use should not be facilitated.”

TVM says workers of the Armed Forces of Malta are on a search for a 42-year-old man who allegedly went diving in Birżebbuġa on Sunday morning and did not reappear.

Updated 1300 – Mid-Day Briefing

Food prices lead to inflation rise in October: Food remained the largest contributor to inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index, the NSO said today. The annual rate of inflation has reached 2.25% in October, up from 2.25% the month before. The 12-month moving average rate for October stood at 1.12%. The largest upward impact on annual inflation was measured in the Food Index (+0.73%). While food remained the main inflationary driver over the past month, the average of the past year shows that the highest annual inflation rates were registered in clothing and footwear (4.25%) and household equipment and house maintenance costs (3.60%) with food in third place with 3.4%.

Shortage of cardboard delivery boxes and paper cups: Restaurants and takeaways are facing a shortage of paper cups, bags and cardboard delivery boxes as importers struggle with high demand and a global supply chain crisis. One supplier said the demand is so high that two containers filled with some three million paper cups were sold within a week of arriving in Malta ‒ following a three-month wait from China. Suppliers explained this was a global situation brought about by a wide array of factors impacting the supply chain. These include cargo container shortages, congested shipping ports and increased costs for freight and raw materials.

Covid-19 Update: 71 new COVID-19 cases were reported as the number of hospital cases rose to 16 after being 12 over the past two days.  The number of people in intensive care remains two.

Morning Briefing

Cannabis bill seeks harm-reduction approach, PM Abela says

Government is proposing to change the law regulating substance abuse so that anyone caught with a joint would no longer be considered a criminal, arrested, taken to the police lock-up and arraigned in court, where they could face up to six months in prison, Prime Minister Robert Abela said in Parliament on Monday. He added that the government opted for a “harm-reduction approach” through its proposed cannabis reform, aiming at regulating the sector and eradicating the black market, Abela added. He also took the PN to task for its stance agaisnt the bill, arguing that the Opposition was indifferent to the challenges faced by youths looking for a job but whose record is tainted with a criminal conviction over a joint. “We could not wait or postpone the reform to after the election. Each passing day that we ignore such realities is another day lost to addressing the problem,” Abela said.

Former Labour Health Minister Godfrey Farrugia, who is now an independent MP, also took the floor, and warned that as a doctor, unlimited access to cannabis could mean trouble. “I am all for reform but we need a cautious reform to eradicate the black market. I find it shocking that people can grow plants at home. Let’s not repeat the same mistake we did when introducing the law on medicinal cannabis. We cannot normalise a situation when we come to reform this plague,” he warned.
(Times of Malta)

Konrad Mizzi, Caruana Galizia family exploring libel agreement

Konrad Mizzi’s lawyers and the family of Daphne Caruana Galizia are exploring the possibility of reaching an out of court settlement in a libel case the former minister had filed against the murdered journalist. Mizzi had opened court proceedings after Caruana Galizia alleged that the former Labour Minister was having an extramarital affair with his communications office. Mizzi’s lawyers asked the magistrate for some more time to explore the possibility of reaching an out of court settlement. The request was upheld. (The Malta Independent)

Covid-19 Update: 62 new Covid-19 cases were reported on Monday, with 42 persons recovering. Active cases have thus increased to 866, while the death tally increased to 464 after a 72-year-old male passed away while Covid positive.

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