The Emerald Isle, renowned for its verdant fields and repression at the hands of the English. And of course, its conspicuous production of alcohol. For many, it’s a dream to travel to old Ireland fair and take a seat within one of the country’s many historic and beautiful pubs, a pint of Guinness in hand. But for some within the counties and provinces of Ireland, there’s a desire to partake in something as green as their home, and to do so safely, and legally. So what are the laws surrounding weed use in Ireland, and is weed use even legal?
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Weed Laws In Ireland
In Ireland recreational marijuana use is illegal. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), with information pertaining to The Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977, possession of cannabis for personal use is punishable with a fine for the first two offenses. This increases to potential jail time for a third offense, still with the possibility of a fine. Ireland’s laws when compared to other locales of Europe are quite similar in nature. When it comes to medicinal laws, that’s where Ireland falls behind a lot of other European nations.
Medical Weed In Ireland
While in theory citizens of Ireland have access to legal medical weed, the implementation leaves much to be desired. Up until recently, the most successful route to accessing medical marijuana was by directly petitioning the government for a license. This bureaucratic labyrinthine nightmare is soon to be done away with, with the introduction of the Medical Cannabis Access Programme. The Medical Cannabis Access Programme is definitely a step in the right direction, but it seems to be very limited.
Only oral solutions will be available, and the highest weight per volume ratio of THC is 3% (e.g. less than 30mg THC per mL). Patients can only obtain a doctor’s prescription after they have failed to respond to standard treatment methods. The list of qualifying conditions is also staggeringly small:
- Severe epilepsy
- Nausea from chemotherapy
- Spasticity from MS
While Ireland can be quite divided on political issues, it would appear that, for the public, there’s a general consensus. As far back as 2013, a poll ran by ‘The Journal’ found that 84% of Ireland believes that weed should be fully legal, both recreationally and medically. This was accompanied by 8% saying just medically, and 2% not sure. Only 4% of those surveyed voted no, cannabis should remain illegal. This survey included a sizable sample size too, surveying almost 48,000 people, or around 1% of the population. When’s the last time you heard of 84% agreeing on anything?
So why is there such little action from the government in regards to modern and humane marijuana laws when it has such overwhelming support? It’d appear that the Irish Government has it out for the use of marijuana under any circumstances.
In 2020, Irish parliamentarian Gino Kenny (People Before Profit Party) published an article in The London Free Press, discussing the state of medical marijuana laws in Ireland. In it he noted:
‘… the Irish government was slow to establish the Medical Cannabis Access Programme. Over the past few years, their ongoing opposition to my efforts to legislate for medicinal cannabis speaks to their lack of comfort in seeing cannabis as useful in medical treatments. My bill (The Medicinal Use Regulation Bill) was originally passed by a majority in the Irish Parliament, but sadly, the government blocked its progression. Despite concerted efforts it did not proceed any further’.
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It’d appear based on the existing data that Ireland is still quite a way from any form of legalization, let alone an adequate medicinal program. Time and again, the government of Ireland acts against their citizen’s wishes. While there have been small wins here and there, Ireland is still lagging behind many of its European counterparts. While it’s hopeful that within the decade this debate will be put to rest, and MMJ will be actioned in a meaningful sense, as well as decriminalization and legalization for recreational purposes, the innately conservative culture of the Irish government could leave this but a pipe dream.