A Bill aiming to legalise the possession of cannabis for personal use has been brought before the Irish Parliament.
The Private Members’ Bill, proposed by People Before Profit Health spokesman Gino Kenny TD, will enable adults to carry up to seven grams of cannabis without fear of prosecution.
Gardaí who catch people with cannabis can already issue just a caution. In the first year of the scheme – which has been operating since December 2020 – more than 1,600 adults escaped a possible criminal conviction.
Introducing his Bill to the Oireachtas’ lower house, the Dáil, Kenny described criminalising people “for possession of small quantities of any drug” as “a complete waste of time”.
Calling his Misuse of Drugs (Cannabis Regulation) Bill 2022 “moderate”, Kenny claimed: “In years to come they will look at our legislation on drug use and wonder how stupid were the people who put in place these antiquated laws”.
Kenny has also indicated that if his proposed legislation progresses, he and fellow activists “plan to add an amendment to the bill itself to include home cultivation”.
In response to the proposal, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin cautioned people not to “glamorise” cannabis in the light of the “real concerns within the health community and the medical community about what cannabis can do to young people”.
In October, a group of police commissioners in England warned that cannabis is as dangerous as heroin and cocaine.
David Sidwick, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, called for cannabis to be upgraded to a Class A drug – a proposal backed by fellow commissioners for Devon and Cornwall, and Avon and Somerset.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Sidwick explained: “People who call this drug recreational haven’t seen the harm that psychosis and other cannabis-related conditions can do”.