By Daniel Boffey

Malta will this week become the first European country to legalise the cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal use, pipping Luxembourg to the post, as the continent undergoes a wave of change to its drug laws.

Possession of up to seven grams of the drug will be legal for those aged 18 and above, and it will permissible to grow up to four cannabis plants at home, with up to 50g of the dried product storable.

A vote in favour of the legislation in the Maltese parliament on Tuesday will be followed by the law being signed by the president in order for it to be enacted by the weekend, Owen Bonnici, the minister responsible, told the Guardian.

The move by Malta, the EU’s smallest member state, is likely to be followed by reform across Europe in 2022. Germany recently announced a move to establish a legally regulated market, following announcements from the governments of Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. A referendum in Italy is planned, while Canada, Mexico and 18 US states have already enacted similar legislation.