A Dublin South West TD has claimed that Ireland’s criminalisation of personal usage of cannabis is ‘archaic’ and vowed to bring a bill for vote in the Dail to change it.
People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy, who sits on the the Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Taskforce, welcomed the decisions of the Citizens Assembly on Drug Use last month which “resoundingly called for an end to criminalisation and a move toward a health-led approach when dealing with drug use”.
“There were 17,321 controlled drug offences reported in the Republic of Ireland in 2022 under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Many of these would have received a criminal record, affecting their ability to get jobs and their travel prospects, while others have been sentenced to spend a significant portion of their lives in prison for the offences. However, the Citizens Assembly proposed a radical change in the laws around cannabis in Ireland, voting for “a comprehensive health-led approach to cannabis”. This would see the state respond to personal drug use as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice matter”.
The People Before Profit TD introduced a Bill in 2022 that proposes to legalise the personal use of cannabis, and it passed the first stage unopposed. The socialist political party has now announced plans to use its private members’ time in the Dáil on January 31 to progress the Bill to the second stage. Second stage of a Bill allows a general debate where members can suggest amendments and discuss the principles of the Bill. If this Bill is passed it will make it legal for someone to possess up to 7g of cannabis.
Paul Murphy TD said this vote in the Dail will act as a test of the Government in relation to how it plans to act on the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly on drug use.
“This government cannot be allowed to simply kick the can down the road, and let the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly gather dust on the shelf. We need to move now to implement these recommendations, to stop the failed ‘war on drugs’ and instead take a health lead approach, investing in our communities and in support for those struggling with addiction. The PBP bill to stop criminalising people for possessing small amounts of cannabis for personal use is a small first step in that direction, and should be implemented without delay.”