The vast majority of the world’s population lives in countries that have some form of mandatory health insurance. In the United States, that means if you can’t afford your health insurance, you either go without it, or pay for it yourself. This is a problem because without ACA-like laws (and the intent of the law) there would be no legal requirement for health care coverage.

In the United States, we have laws to protect patients’ rights and healthcare providers’ rights, but the laws protecting these rights are stuck in the dark ages. Many different countries have passed laws protecting the rights of patients and healthcare providers. In this blog I’ll look at the laws of some other countries and how they protect patients and healthcare providers. Some of the laws are the same, but some are quite different.

The curtain has come down on the public consultation on the new White Paper and new legislation was proposed to Parliament this week. Radical new cannabis legislation for Maltese citizens is on the horizon. The law provides for the effective decriminalization of cannabis, with a clear path for users to legally purchase cones and seeds for personal use. Possession of up to seven grams for personal use will be fully legal, and people will be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants at home for personal use. Possession alone is no longer grounds for arrest, and those caught with 28 grams or less must pay a fine. The use of cannabis in public places will be prohibited and those convicted of simple possession will be acquitted of their sentence.

How cannabis is regulated in other countries

Cannabis policy is perhaps best known in the Netherlands, where tourists regularly visit coffee shops in Amsterdam. The production of cannabis is illegal in the country and its possession remains a criminal offence. However, possession of five grams for personal use is allowed under the principle of tolerance. Coffeeshops have been selling cannabis products since 1976. As long as they do not sell to minors or serve alcohol or other drugs, this practice is permitted. Advertising of the products is prohibited and cannabis may only be sold in batches of up to five grams. In the Netherlands, a dealer weighs cannabis before sale. Photo: AFP word-image-9010 The sale of cannabis is also illegal in Spain, but possession and cultivation for personal use are permitted, provided this is done out of sight. This has led to the rise of cannabis clubs that grow the drug and offer their members a place to smoke in exchange for a membership fee. What allows these clubs to operate informally as legal consumption venues is that they must be strictly non-profit, like a private space that grows and shares cannabis with its members. The sale or use of cannabis outside of these facilities is illegal and punishable by prison and severe penalties. Cannabis was decriminalized in Portugal in 2001 as part of the decriminalization of all drugs in the country. It is possible to consume up to 25 grams of plant material or five grams of hashish (compressed cannabis plant) for personal use. Quebec generated $60 million in cannabis revenue in 2020 Repeat offenders receive fines and mandatory treatment. In Canada, the cultivation, possession and consumption of cannabis is allowed, with a maximum of 30 grams that a person may carry at any one time. Cannabis producers are licensed by the Canadian government and products can be sold on demand, online or routinely in physical dispensaries. Although cannabis use is allowed at the federal level, provinces can determine the age at which cannabis use is allowed, how it is dispensed, and whether cannabis use is allowed in homes where children are present. Cannabis products at a store in Montreal, Canada. Photo: AFP word-image-9011 An excise tax is levied on all cannabis products and distributed to the provinces. According to the 2021 budget document, Quebec received $60 million in cannabis revenue in 2020 and expects another $88 million in 2021 and $105 million in 2022, excluding federal excise taxes. Ontario’s share of federal excise taxes was $48 million in 2020 and is expected to be $140 million in the first quarter of 2021, according to the financial report. Uruguay was the first country to legalize cannabis, with a public distribution system. Cannabis is grown by licensed producers contracted by the national government, and users, who must be citizens and at least 18 years old, may purchase no more than 40 grams per month. Users can also join special cannabis clubs, as in Spain, or grow up to six cannabis plants at home, provided they are registered with the government as cannabis producers. A worker harvests cannabis at a factory in Montevideo, Uruguay. Photo: AFP word-image-9012

Views of stakeholders

While many organisations generally agree with the principle of decriminalisation, there is disagreement over the details of the Government’s proposed White Paper and the boundaries of what constitutes personal use. Two religious organisations and most of the social partners of the MCESD want a debate on cannabis legislation to be held after the general elections and are calling for further research on the issue. Their objections range from fears that cannabis may be addictive and lead to the use of more dangerous substances, to criticism of the proposals from drug treatment specialists. The Maltese Employers’ Federation is also pushing for employers to have the right to apply a zero-tolerance policy, even if consumption occurs outside of working hours, and for a clear health and safety policy to be put in place. The medical lobby also warns of the potential risks of increasing cannabis use. According to Releaf, a cannabis reform NGO, decriminalization would lead to a more humane society. It acknowledged that drug prohibition had not reduced drug abuse and had allowed criminal organisations involved in drug cultivation, transport and trafficking to flourish. According to Relief, the law should clarify how police should proceed and what constitutes reasonable suspicion that gives authorities the right to search a person.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are foreign laws?

We live in the US, but we all also live in other countries. When someone gets sick overseas, they have to go to a doctor or hospital that is licensed in that country. For example, if you have health insurance in the US and you go to a doctor in another country, you may need a medical certification from the US government to help pay for your care. This is because the US has laws about importing medicine or blood, for example. There are millions of laws being passed around the world every year, most of which have little effect on the lives of most of us. But, as the saying goes, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

Who creates laws for the country?

How do other countries legislate? Some governments control the content of regulated media, but also try to restrict the internet. Others want to control what they can see on the internet, and restrict what others can say on the internet. Yet others do not want to control the internet. The United States is a nation in which laws are made by elected officials. These elected officials are the legislators, passed laws that are implemented by the agents of the government, who are the executive branch and the judicial branch. Laws are then enforced, by the police, the courts and other enforcement agencies. The laws are also enforced.

How is national law made?

In a democratic society, the process for how laws are made is a very important one that affects every citizen. It is the legislative branch of government, and it is also the branch that is most directly affected by the people. But, how do other countries legislate? The U.S. is not the only country to have a legislative branch, but we are the only one that has a Congress to write the laws that affect the American people. And, there are many other countries around the world that have different systems for making laws. To better understand this topic, let’s take a look at a few examples of national laws. In the United States, Medicare and Social Security are huge examples of how government programs are made. Medicare provides health insurance for individuals over the age of 65, while Social Security is a program that provides monthly payments to aged individuals and anyone who has worked enough in the United States.

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