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E's are gone: Michael D has signed that emergency law, making loads of drugs illegal (again)

Ecstasy, ketamine, magic mushrooms and crystal meth (etc. etc.) will be illegal to possess once again, from midnight.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Updated 11pm

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins signed the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2015 at Áras an Uachtaráin tonight – once again making possession of certain drugs illegal.

The Seanad earlier debated all stages of the amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 – which was passed by the Dáil last night.

The emergency legislation was brought before TDs following a Court of Appeal ruling yesterday which found a sub-section of the Act to be repugnant to the Constitution.

As a result of the ruling drugs such as ecstasy, ketamine, magic mushrooms, crystal meth and other substances were temporarily made legal to possess in Ireland.

In the Dáil last night, Health Minister Leo Varadkar said the “short but important bill” would restate the ban on the drugs in question.

The bill had cross-party support although Sinn Féin and independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan called on the government to appoint a drugs minister, an issue that has been in the news recently.

Independent TD Thomas Pringle tabled a number of amendments aimed at strengthening the legislation although these were voted down.

The government has indicated that it may appeal the Court of Appeal ruling to the Supreme Court in the coming weeks.

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Speaking to reporters yesterday, Varadkar also indicated that more legislation in this area would be introduced later in the year.

A provision in the bill states that it comes into operation on the day immediately after its passing. That means ecstasy and all of the other substances referenced in the bill will be banned again from midnight.

Includes reporting by Daragh Brophy.

Read: Loophole means ecstasy and loads of other drugs are now legal (but only until Thursday)

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Hugh O'Connell

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