Following the publication of Subsidiary Legislation 628.01 and various directives and guidelines, the Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis (ARUC) is hereby publishing the following summary of the regulations and processes which shall govern the registration and licensing of Cannabis Harm Reduction Associations.
- Associations which shall cultivate and distribute cannabis are to be known as Cannabis Harm Reduction Associations. These associations are to be registered with, and licensed by, the ARUC.
- Associations must be non-profit making and their sole purpose must be to cultivate and distribute cannabis for their adult members only.
- ARUC is the regulator of the associations and will monitor compliance of the entire process from seed to distribution.
- Authorised associations may cultivate cannabis plants for the benefit of its members only and may distribute to its members dried cannabis flowers only. ARUC may also consent the associations to distribute prescribed goods but the distribution of cannabis in another form is strictly prohibited.
- The associations must carry out the entire process from seed to distribution. They may not procure or transfer cannabis plants, dried cannabis, finished or semi-finished products to or from other individuals, associations, or entities.
- Applications are open as of the 28th February 2023.
- Associations may be established as an association of persons by at least two individuals.
- Associations must be governed by a Board of Administration consisting of at least three individuals elected from amongst the members on an annual basis. The Board of Administration must appoint or engage the following designated persons who must be registered by ARUC and may be selected from amongst the board members: 1. A Key Officer, who holds a Diploma Level of Education (recognised at Level 5 by MQRIC) or possess a minimum of 5 years of experience in management. The legal and judicial representation of the association shall be vested in the Key Officer, who will be responsible to personally supervise the operations of the association and will be the main contact person of ARUC. The key officer must be approved by ARUC. 2. An individual responsible for the cultivation site, 3. An individual responsible for security, 4. An individual responsible for the distribution site, and 5. An individual responsible for quality assurance. The ARUC may, at its discretion, allow an individual to occupy multiple roles. This concession applies for small associations only.
- All members of the association must be residents of Malta and over 18 years of age.
- Founding members, administrators and the key officer must be fit and proper persons who have resided in Malta for a minimum of five years prior to their appointment.
- The designated persons and any other employee of the association shall be registered with ARUC and must be residents of Malta.
- Associations must submit a Feasibility & Sustainability Plan that will include the projected income and expenditure, balance sheet and cash flow statement for their first three years of operations together with their application.
- Financial reports must be submitted on a regular basis and audited accounts must be submitted on a yearly basis.
- Associations are subject to rigorous prevention of money laundering procedures.
- Salaries, remuneration for services, fees and expenses must not be higher than market rates for similar roles and services and expenses must not be inflated.
- Founding members, administrators, designated persons and employees are required to attend training on harm reduction measures. Training will be provided by ARUC at a later stage.
- Associations must adopt appropriate harm reduction mechanisms with the aim of promoting impartial safe use according to one’s age, health, and well-being.
- Associations are required to pay the following fees. 1. An application fee of €1,000 payable before the issuance of the In-Principle License. 2. A yearly licence fee based on the number of members. The following categories shall apply: a. 0 – 50 members - €1,000 / year b. 51 – 100 members - €5,000 / year c. 101 – 250 members - €13,000 / year d. 251 – 350 members - €18,000 / year e. 351 – 500 members - €26,000 / year The Annual License is payable in advance prior to receiving the Certificate of Approval and Permit. 1. 5% harm reduction contribution on the total annual revenue 2. 10% community projects contribution on the retained earnings for the year.
- The associations’ premises must be covered by the following planning permits: 1. a class 4B permit or equivalent approval for distribution sites. 2. a class 5A/5B/5C/7 permit or equivalent approval for cultivation sites within buildings.
- In addition, all premises managed by associations must: 1. be registered with, and approved by, ARUC, 2. be enclosed such that operations are not visible from outside, 3. be protected with adequate security features to ensure that only authorised persons may access the premises, 4. be 250m away (shortest walking route) from schools, clubs and youth centres as stipulated in the legislation.
- Cannabis may only be distributed from the approved distribution sites. Other modes of distribution are prohibited.
- No other activity may be carried out from within the associations’ premises. The consumption of cannabis and alcohol on site is prohibited.
- Cannabis must be packaged in tamper-evident and child-resistant packaging and include labelling and health warnings as prescribed by ARUC.
- All means of advertising or promotion for the Association and its products, including through digital media, is prohibited.
- Technical Standards issued by the ARUC specify the expected levels of operations relating but not limited to the operational set-up, compliance, cultivation practices, sampling and testing, and packaging and labelling.
- Different cultivation practices will be allowed as long as these are approved by ARUC.
Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis