Ireland’s new drug strategy minister will raise the issue of relaxing drug laws in parliament next year.
The country appointed a new Minister of State with Responsibility for Drug Strategy, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, last week and his first task is to examine whether drug laws in Ireland should be less strict.
Ireland’s current National Drug Strategy expires next year and Ríordáin plans to raise the issue in the Dáil (Irish legislature) when it does.
I believe someone who has an addiction issue should be dealt with through the health system and not the criminal justice system. I think people – guards, the prison service – will probably agree with me on that. We have an opportunity through the legislation that is forthcoming (with) the Misuse of Drugs Act to investigate that.
Earlier this month, the US Government confirmed that cannabis kills cancer cells. However, under current Irish law, marijuana is not recognised as having any medical benefits and use, sale, possession and production of the drug is still prohibited under the law.
Ríordáin added that decriminalisation is not the same as legalisation, although both options will be discussed:
I am going to mark any hard calls on that but the difference between decriminalisation and legalisation is quite different. We need to have a proper discussion before we set off alarm bells in people’s heads.
Ireland is no stranger to relaxed drug laws. In March, the government accidentally legalised more than 100 drugs for 24 hours, including ecstasy, crystal meth and ketamine.
At this rate, Ireland may soon be the hot new destination for party goers around the world.