Republic of Ireland pushed towards drug decriminlisation

Ireland’s Citizens’ Assembly on Drug Use has called for wholesale liberalisation of laws on the possession of illegal drugs.

The Assembly avoided backing cannabis legalisation by just one vote but pushed for a “comprehensive health-led response to possession of drugs for personal use”.

The proposal will be submitted to the Oireachtas and Government by the end of the year. If implemented, it could “minimise, or potentially completely remove, the possibility of criminal conviction and prison sentences for simple possession”.


The Assembly said its recommendation mirrors Portugal which decriminalised drugs in 2001, but were warned that the policy “is beginning to show its flaws”.

Writing in the Irish Independent, columnist Catherine Conlon cited a Washington Post report describing how “police in Porto are blaming a spike in the number of people who use drugs for a rise in crime in the city”, while drug paraphernalia “litter pavements outside primary school” and “existing laws limit the ability to intervene”.

Speaking ahead of the Assembly’s vote on the issue, 25-year-old former cannabis addict Matt told the paper he didn’t realise the danger at first before he started robbing people to purchase the drug and ended up in “a state of psychosis”.

“Eventually, my usage took me to the real depths of despair and I realised that cannabis was going to kill me. If I didn’t change, I would wind up dead before 25.”


Last month, a study revealed that one in six pupils aged 15 and 16 in Ireland admitted to smoking cannabis within the previous year.

Published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, an analysis of the 2019 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs reported that Ireland ranked 12th out of 25 European countries for the largest proportion of cannabis users.

Of the 300 respondents in Ireland who answered questions on drug use, over twelve percent admitted to taking cannabis more than 40 times in a year, while eleven per cent claimed it was not unusual to smoke it before midday.

Also see:

Health chief: ‘Legalising drugs will add to Ireland’s drug problem’

Illegal drug use sanctioned in Glasgow

‘Canada is a nightmare of Britain’s future’