Last year, as Malta continued to intermittently discuss the Government’s plans to introduce legislation which would see the recreational use of cannabis legalised in the country, Matthias Camilleri and Ryan Cauchi, two local business-minded friends, set to work on High Street Culture, an online-only store selling cannabis-related paraphernalia.

While the recreational use of cannabis was eventually made legal in December 2021, with citizens allowed to carry up to seven grams of the product, the sale of paraphernalia was never strictly illegal. It did, however, mean that anybody selling such products was operating in a legal loophole, as customers were likely to be the ones breaking the law, by being in possession of the once controlled substance.

Now that legislation regulating the use of recreational cannabis has been introduced, Matthias and Ryan’s High Street Culture is in a position to be able to engage more openly with customers, which opened up several opportunities, and challenges, for the pair.

About Matthias and Ryan

Matthias Camilleri

Matthias Camilleri 

Matthias has been working in digital marketing for the past six years, specialising in social media marketing and ecommerce, providing him with the skills to set up High Street Culture, and now that cannabis is legal, to market the business and connect publicly with customers.

Matthias is also active in the local events scene, as a DJ and an events organiser. In his free time, he has a passion for a diverse range of music, as well as F1.

Ryan has been working in the aviation industry for the past five years, first as a flight attendant, and, later within the safety and compliance sector, giving him a keen eye for detail. Outside the remit of work, Ryan has a passion for outdoor, urban and event photography, while the rest of his free time is spent either playing squash or watching football.

Asked about how the idea of High Street Culture came to them, the pair said that cannabis decriminalisation is a topic they have been following from some time.

Ryan Cauchi

Ryan Cauchi 

“From the decriminlisation of 2015 to the legislation approving medical cannabis with a prescription in 2018, and later with the Government's proposal to legalise cultivation and recreational use, we always believed that legalisation is the way forward for a variety of reasons,” they said in comments to WhosWho.mt.

“The idea of High Street Culture came about through our own experiences. We were aware that cannabis is being consumed by a wide range of demographics and ages, from business owners to responsible parents and young adults.

“We believe that these people who contribute positively to our society in one way or another should be able to access cannabis accessories in an easy, professional and discreet manner and that is how the idea of High Street Culture came about.”

The idea for the brand started back in April 2021 as a one man show with Matthias. Ryan was then roped in to help with the many facets of setting up an online store. Asked about the difficulties in sourcing merchandise, the pair acknowledged it hasn’t been an easy task.

“We are after discreet, quaint and modern accessories which are still making their way into the European scene. Long hours were spent finding the right products and dealing with suppliers outside of Europe. Sourcing the merchandise is only one of the many hurdles to open an online store.”

While, as previously mentioned, the sale of paraphernalia was not illegal in Malta, because of cannabis having been a controlled substance, what was available on the local market “was a far cry from what is available on international markets”.

“The partial legalisation of cannabis will help in extinguishing the stoner stigma which has tainted the cannabis user for many decades. People will be less fearful to engage with cannabis brands and we want to provide a seamless user experience to our customers.

“However, we want to be more than just another online store.  We truly believe that in order to be in the cannabis industry one has to also be an advocate.  We want to provide cannabis users and non-cannabis users with reliable information on products and the plant itself. We want to create dialogue among users and non-users as at the moment there are a lot of misconceptions around the use of the plant which create conflict in our society.”

The pair say they are encouraged by the positive reception their brand has received, but reveal that they are still not allowed to run any ads on social media or google, therefore, they have to get creative to find ways to share about the brand.

“We have some interesting and fun ideas and projects brewing and we look forward to sharing them with everyone in the weeks and months to come.”

Main Image:

Read Next: Placeholder

Written By

Helena Grech

Helena is an avid follower of current affairs, leading her to take an interest in economics, politics and the environment. She is quite content to spend time in nature, and is often found having noisy debates with friends.