The Mediterranean island is proving popular for investors looking to produce cannabis as a prescribed medicine.
Investors, medical researchers and policymakers in many countries are recognising the world-changing potential of cannabis for medical use.
Acknowledging this, in 2018 Malta changed its laws to legalise the use and possession of cannabis on the island for medicinal purposes – but only with a prescription.
The Production of Cannabis for Medicinal Use Act 2018 has proved an important step in establishing the future of the medical cannabis industry on the island.
While recreational use remains an arrestable offence under the new legislation, companies are permitted to cultivate, import, process and produce cannabis intended for research and medical purposes under a controlled and supervised environment.
Over the past few years, Malta as a ‘brand’ has gained greater international recognition and notched up an impressive record of attracting foreign investors.
As part of the EU, businesses based on the island enjoy unlimited access to the world’s largest economic zone with total freedom of capital and income movements within the eurozone.
The island’s commercial benefits to investors from all over the globe include a well-educated workforce, a stable economic environment, a competitive fiscal regime and an attractive business climate.
A highly efficient tax regime also make it attractive. Companies incorporated in Malta are subject to tax at a rate of 35% on their worldwide income and capital gains but Malta’s system of tax refunds reduces the overall effective tax rate of shareholders to 5%.
Relative economic and political stability, as well as a low crime rate, have also encouraged companies to have higher levels of trust in the country as a location in which to grow their businesses.
Last but not the least, its strategic location in the Mediterranean and a business-friendly ecosystem has made Malta a jurisdiction of choice for foreign investors looking to set up a medical cannabis business.
Taking the first steps
To set up a legal medicinal cannabis growing operation in Malta, it is absolutely essential to obtain a letter of intent from the country’s economic development agency, Malta Enterprise.
Any activity related or ancillary to medicinal cannabis also requires a license from the regulatory authority, the Malta Medicines Authority.
It is important to remember that all the necessary approvals, authorisations and permits must be obtained before engaging in any activities relating to this industry, without fail.
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Date: January 2020