Malta's youngest MP is responsible for reforming equality, cannabis, prostitution and good governance
Rosianne Cutajar, the youngest Member of Parliament, has been appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Equality, Cannabis Reforms and Good Governance. Cannabis users are now wondering if the Maltese government is serious about bringing Maltese laws into the modern era and educating Malta about this plant which is now legal and supplied in pharmacies across the island.
New Prime Minister Robert Abela separated the Equality Ministry from European Affairs and merged it with the Parliamentary Secretariat for Reforms, a cabinet that former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat set up after the 2017 elections for focus on reforms relating to prostitution, parliamentary gender quotas and legalization of cannabis for personal use, as well as Malta's identity.
The portfolio was initially assigned to Julia Farrugia Portelli, and although she launched positional campaigns on prostitution and equal gender representation in parliament, cannabis reform has progressed at a slow pace. This is exemplified by his much-anticipated cannabis education campaign aimed at 9000 students, which turned out to be a social and personal development booklet that only mentioned cannabis once. In other words, a total fiasco.
It's a pretty decent booklet: except that it contains almost nothing about cannabis and absolutely no new information about the plant.
Farrugia Portelli should now be transferred to the Ministry of Tourism.
Last November, Rosianne Cutajar defended a Maltese woman after a court sentenced her to six months in prison for cultivating 6,5g of cannabis.
"I also do not agree with a person being sent to jail for six months and ruining their conduct because of 6,5g of cannabis," she said. "If we still truly believe that cannabis can be harmful (even if studies dispute it), then the sentencing should focus on help and rehabilitation, not on jail."
Then-Justice Minister Owen Bonnici ultimately proposed an update to the law for debate in parliament.
Abela also entrusted Cutajar with the responsibility for good governance, a major sign of confidence from the former mayor of Qormi, who will become the youngest woman in the Cabinet since former President Agatha Barbara.