Ireland is the latest in a string of countries looking at their cannabis laws. The Green Party has called for the decriminalization of cannabis, stating that the current law has “made criminals out of decent people”. The Greens are looking at other countries, like the US, as examples of places where cannabis legalization has been successful.
The Green Party would have Amsterdam-style cannabis coffee shops introduced, in which over-18s with certain conditions would be allowed to consume and purchase cannabis on the premises.
Of course, this means that some adjustments would also need to be made when it comes to Ireland’s cannabis laws on possession. The Green Party is also proposing that criminal charges for those over the age of 18 in possession of five grams or less be removed. They also want to see cannabis-based medicines become legal and widely accessible as well as allow individuals to grow up to two cannabis plants in their own home for personal use. These laws are very similar to those set by states in which marijuana has been legalized in the United States.
Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan, told TheJournal.ie that current cannabis laws in Ireland are “feeding gangland culture.” The amendments to the law the Greens are proposing aim to incentivize cannabis users to use marijuana within a regulated environment.
“Portugal and other US States seem to be able to decriminalize it without having a massive increase in use,” the party leader went on to say.
“I think Portugal’s approach is a sensible one. They approach it as a health issue rather than a criminal issue. It is far more beneficial to society.”
Cannabis for medical use tends to find wider acceptance than cannabis for recreational use. A large number of states in the US now have medical marijuana programs, however, less than 10 have legalized cannabis for recreational use. If the Green Party’s plans were to move forward, medical marijuana may be the sensible course of action, at least to begin with. The list of qualifying health conditions remains to be seen, however, and it has not been determined how exactly these cannabis coffee shops will operate.
Nevertheless, it seems Ireland is taking steps to re-evaluate it’s approach to cannabis. The new Irish National Drugs Strategy called for a working group to be set up to consider the current approach to drug possession in small amounts. The report is set to be delivered this year.