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Poll: Should criminal penalties be removed for possession of small amounts of drugs?

The public is being asked its views on how effective current laws are and what alternatives could be considered.

Image: Shutterstock/Tatiana Murr

THE GOVERNMENT HAS launched a public consultation into the possession of illegal drugs for personal use.

The public is being asked its views on how effective current laws are and what alternatives could be considered.

Currently, it is an offence to carry any amount of a banned substance, and people who are caught can face prison sentences depending on the amount and if they have offended before.

In other countries – like Portugal – it is not a criminal offence to carry a certain amount of a banned substance for personal use. The country changed its laws in 2001 to decriminalise possession of small amounts.

The government’s current drug strategy aims to move towards a more health and care-based approach to users. A working group was set up in November and will report back within the year.

People are being asked to fill out a questionnaire on their views on the matter, while a series of Town Hall meetings have been arranged by the Ana Liffey Drug Project.

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Many experts see removing criminal penalties for small amount of drugs a sensible, harm reduction measure. However, a lot of world governments still employ criminal penalties for possession and have done so for decades.

But what do you think?

Today we’re asking, Should criminal penalties be removed for possession of small amounts of drugs?


Poll Results:

Yes - Remove penalties (8335)
No - Keep penalties (2567)
Don't know (326)



About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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