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MALTATODAY 4 April 2021

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 4 APRIL 2021 COMMENT What are we skinning? The sudden interest in cannabis legalisation by the political powers that be in Malta. Why are we skinning it? Because it's popped up in the midst of both a health and political crisis like a little ganja treat of hope. So you're saying this is all about deflection? Not necessarily. I'm just saying that the timing is juicily interesting. Because it serves as a distraction from the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the barrage of political scandals we've been hit by in recent months? That's one reason, though I'd argue it's the least interesting. But surely, we should point that out. Yes, it's certainly something to consider. Not least because it could be Abela's way of replicating a (pre- scandal-ridden) Joseph Muscat- esque feelgood factor. That's quite a bit to unpack. Also... Muscat had a feel-good factor at some point? Yes, it's a bit hard to imagine now. With everything that happened in between (and whose echoes continue to reverberate to this day), it takes some effort to remember just how much of a political X-Factor he had. *squints* Oh yes, I think I'm starting to remember now. The Tagħna Lkoll chants. The economic boom. The civil rights. Yes, all them yummy civil rights. I'm getting munchies in fast- forward. Is that even possible? Just ride the wave man. Hop on that magic dragon and enjoy the ride. A short flight away from reality never hurt anybody *too* much. Mmm, and that's so tempting right now. Yes, flying *anywhere* would be a treat at the moment, but a temporary respite from the dumpster fire that is the world right now would be the best thing of all. Okay, let's sober up now... Uh-huh. You're saying that Abela is trying to replicate political glories equivalent to the very best of the Muscat years, all the while doing his best to swerve away from the nastier elements that will mark his legacy? Something like that, yeah. Muscat gave us civil rights, Abela promises to give us guilt-free access to weed. Put like that, it sounds kinda groovy. Yes. 'Civil rights and Legalised Marijuana' is a hippie's wet dream. All provided by Labour. Shame about the corruption and insistence on cosying up to capitalists. And that's where any hint of Labour hippie dreams smash cut into Gordon Gekko land. Do say: "Countries and states in which marijuana has been decriminalised have hardly become dystopian hell-holes of drug use, so allowing the same in Malta is unlikely to usher in an avalanche of fresh societal problems. But one should always scrutinise the timing of PR-friendly legislative changes by government." Don't say: "Let he who is without spliffs now finally be allowed to get stoned." Aleks Farrugia on Maltese identity INTERVIEW PGS 12-13 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down JOSANNE CASSAR Reflections on a second Easter spent like this PAGE 6 MICHAEL FALZON Will Abela ever have his Khrushchev moment? PAGE 7 No 81 – Curing It All With Some Reefer Madness SAVIOUR BALZAN The great train robbery PAGE 5 EDITORIAL A belated admission that cannabis users are not 'criminals' PAGE 2 'Identity' does not consist of 'pastizzi', or 'fenkati', or the 'festa', or 'il-banda'. Those things are not, in themselves, an 'identity'; and some of them are, in any case, just myths. True identity arises out of the creative struggle between different narratives

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