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Drug legalisation

People Before Profit Bill to legalise personal use of cannabis seen as ‘test for Government'

If the Bill becomes legislation it will make it legal for someone to possess up to 7g of cannabis.

A BILL THAT proposes to legalise the personal use of cannabis is set to progress to second stage in the Dáil in January next year. 

Introduced by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny, the Bill passed first stage in the Dáil unopposed in November 2022. 

Speaking to The Journal, the Dublin Mid-West TD said People Before Profit plans to use its private members’ time in the Dáil on January 31 to progress the Bill to second stage. 

At second stage there will be a general debate on the principles of the Bill, including a discussion on whether certain elements should be added or removed from it.

The Bill proposes to amend the current legislation on possession of cannabis, which is the Misuse of Drugs Act.

If passed, it will make it legal for someone to possess up to 7g of cannabis.

While the amendment does not reference the cultivation of cannabis, it is anticipated that if approved by the Dáil then changes regarding cultivation of cannabis could be added at committee stage. 

Kenny said the Bill 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. 

In October, the Citizens’ Assembly voted to recommend that the State should take a health-led policy response to dealing with people who are in possession of drugs for personal use.

This was instead of a legalisation and regulation approach and would minimise or potentially “completely remove” the possibility of criminal conviction and prison sentences for simple possession. 

It entails a degree of decriminalisation of the possession of drugs for personal use, in favour of referring people to health services. 

This includes the possession of cannabis, mushrooms (psilocybin), cocaine, and other drugs. 

The Citizens’ Assembly is due to present its final report to the Oireachtas before the end of this year.

Kenny said January’s debate on his Bill will also act as a test in relation to what the Government’s commitment is to a health led approach to drug use.

“The least that you would hope would happen is that the Government will let the Bill pass to committee stage,” Kenny said. 

He said it would be a “farce” if the Government did not let it pass and added that it would call into question its commitment to the Citizens’ Assembly process.

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