- 29 Dec 22
"Here in Ireland, People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny presented his Misuse of Drugs (Cannabis Regulation) Bill to the Daíl."
Throwing down the gauntlet to the US this year was Gustavo Petro, Colombia’s new leftist president who hinted that his country might unilaterally legalise cocaine, which would be as seismic a shift in drug policy as Hot Press has witnessed in our 45-year history.
“It’s time for a new international convention that accepts the War On Drugs has failed,” the former M-19 guerrilla said. “The War On Drugs has strengthened mafias and weakened states. It has left a million dead Latin Americans during forty years, and it leaves 70,000 North Americans dead by overdose each year.”
While Ireland’s Minister for Drugs, Frank Feighan, was doing precious little, his German counterpart Karl Lauterbach was unveiling plans for his citizens to be able to buy and possess 30g of cannabis for recreational use and privately grow up to three plants.
“If this law comes to pass, it would be the most liberal project to legalise cannabis in Europe, but also the most regulated market,” said Herr Lauterbach. “It could be a model for Europe.”
He went on to reveal that a quarter of the four million people who use cannabis in Germany are aged between 18 and 24.
In short order, the Czech Republic said they’ll mirror whatever legislation the Germans introduce. Switzerland and Austria will likely do the same.
Here in Ireland, People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny presented his Misuse of Drugs (Cannabis Regulation) Bill to the Daíl. Under its terms, it would become legal for people aged 18 and over to possess 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.
While Gino Kenny’s amendment is likely to be defeated, it will once again focus attention on failed drug policy in the run-up to the long overdue Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs, likely to be announced early in the New Year.
“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. “And it’s a way of de-politicising highly charged conversations.”
Leinster House sources also tell us that, as part of Leo Varadkar’s upcoming cabinet reshuffle, Frank Feighan is likely to be moved elsewhere. An interesting footnote to all of that is former Taoiseach Brian Cowen, who admitted to a youthful dalliance with weed in Hot Press, re-joining the advisory board of a Canadian cannabis and cryptocurrency company.
In other significant developments, the UK confirmed that free medical marijuana will be prescribed to epileptic children; Joe Biden pardoned tens of thousands of Americans convicted of possessing cannabis; and in referenda attached to the midterm elections, Maryland and Missouri said “Yes!” to legalising weed.
Meanwhile, the UK’s first clinic offering ketamine-assisted psychotherapy was opened in Bristol by Awakn Life Sciences who are charging between £4,995 and £6,995 for a full course of treatment. The company, whose CEO is Dubliner Anthony Tennyson, has just signed the lease for a second clinic in Norway. Next stop Ireland?
Read the full Hog in the new Hot Press annual issue, out now.