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‘Difficulties’ In Sourcing Medicinal Cannabis Abroad, Deo Debattista Says As He Calls Resorting To The Black Market ‘Witchcraft’

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Malta’s Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Affairs and the man overseeing Malta’s Medicine Authority has explained why the island’s medicinal cannabis stock is running low while urging patients not to turn to the black market in an attempt to access medicine.

“It is understood that over the past weeks, licensed wholesalers have experienced difficulties in sourcing stock to Malta,” Deo Debattista, who is also a family doctor, told Lovin Malta, going on to say the difficulties come as the global medicinal cannabis industry is going through a “drought”. 

“The Medicines Authority, in liaison with the Superintendence of Public Health, regulates cannabis for medicinal and research purposes. All applications, including renewals, are reviewed timely as per established procedures,” he said.

Debattista emphasised that legal medicinal products must be GMP-approved by law, limiting what products may be sold locally, and said that one particular strain of product, Bediol, was currently available in Malta, having confirmed it with local suppliers.

Bediol, one of Bedrocan’s strains, is a Sativa with a breakdown of 6.3% THC and 8% CBD.

For the last few weeks, Maltese patients have been saying they’ve been left without their prescribed medication, with some saying they haven’t accessed medicine in one month.

Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba has since urged amendments to be made to Maltese legislation to ensure patients have easier access to medicine they rely on.

When asked about this, Debattista said that: “the regulatory body upholds its commitment towards the accessibility of quality GMP-certified cannabis-based products for medical use.”

Malta currently has around 400 medicinal cannabis patients after legalising the medicine back in 2017. 

Cannabis lobby group ReLeaf said that patients had become “desperate” for cannabis as their prescriptions remain unfulfilled, with some trying to source their medicine through the black market.

However, Debattista urged patients not to resort to this method, saying it is not medical treatment.

“It’s wrong and not justified – if you are prescribed morphine, you aren’t going to go to the streets and buy some opiate derivative to treat yourself… that’s witchcraft,” he said.

What do you think of Malta’s current medicinal cannabis situation?

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