- 24 Nov 22
Under it, the possession of small amounts of cannabis will be legalised. Meanwhile, there's talk of a new Minister for Drugs and the imminent announcement of the Citizens' Assembly on Drugs
People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny has officially published his Misuse of Drugs (Cannabis Regulation) Bill 2022, under which it would become legal for people 18 and over to be in possession of up to 7 grams of cannabis and/or 2.5 grams of cannabis resin when there's "reasonable inference" that it's for personal use. This is in line with recently introduced measures in Malta and Luxembourg.
The amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 has been formally introduced by Kenny in conjunction with fellow deputies Paul Murphy, Richard Boyd Barrett, Brid Smith and Mick Barry.
The proposed legislation is similar to Luke 'Ming' Flanagan's 2013 Cannabis Regulation Bill, which with TDs voting along party lines was heavily defeated by 111-8 votes. Privately, though, several Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin TDs told us that they were in favour of either decriminalising or legalising cannabis for both medical and recreational use.
While Gino Kenny's amendment is also likely to be heavily defeated, it will once again focus attention on failed drug policy in the run-up to the long overdue Citizens' Assembly on Drugs, which we understand will be announced early in the New Year. With Germany poised to legalise cannabis, it seems inevitable that other EU countries will have to consider alternatives to prohibition as well.
“You can be cynical about Citizens’ Assemblies but, as we saw with Repeal, if there’s a push, they can enact real change," Green Party Dublin Central TD and Health Spokesperson, Neasa Hourigan told Hot Press recently. "And it’s a way of de-politicising highly charged conversations.”
She also promised a Green Party position paper on what the Citizens' Assembly should look like: https://www.hotpress.com/lifestyle-sports/can-a-citizens-assembly-do-for-drug-policy-what-it-did-for-repeal-22893229
Leinster House sources also tell us that, as part of Leo Varadkar's upcoming cabinet reshuffle, the current Fine Gael Minister for Drugs, Frank Feighan, is likely to move elsewhere in government.
As for the likely objections to Kenny's amendment from special interest groups, many of these have already been debunked in Hot Press:
Meanwhile, there's been lots of social media support for the amendment...
Well done to @Ginosocialist and @pb4p for launching this Bill and delighted to be there to support it. We need an end to the criminalisation of people who use cannabis (and indeed any illicit drug). pic.twitter.com/lDke25Dmz9
— Dr. Garrett McGovern 🇺🇦 (@AddictionsPMC) November 24, 2022
Gino Kenny of @pb4p launching his bill on cannabis decriminalisation @rtenews pic.twitter.com/9orxJ0uyYp
— Colm Mc Caughey (@colmwhatyalike) November 24, 2022