An Irish Oireachtas committee has recommended decriminalising and regulating illicit drugs for personal use.
It comes in a Joint Committee on Justice report published on Wednesday (December 14), which acknowledged “the harms associated with pursuing a criminal justice led approach to drug use and misuse and recommends that a health led approach is prioritised in both policy and practice.”
On top of decriminalising drugs “in line with emerging international best-practice”, the report also recommended in increasing investment to harm reduction services, including addiction treatments and social interventions.
They also suggested the expansion of their Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP) so more people who are affected by chronic illnesses can have access to medical marijuana.
Deputy James Lawless, Cathaoirleach of the Committee spoke about the report in a statement. He said: “In selecting this topic, the Committee recognised the ongoing and significant problems with drug addiction in Ireland and the tragic impact this has on societies, communities and families.
“The Committee heard figures during its public engagement that the rate of drug deaths in Ireland ranks at three times the European average and that these figures are among the highest within the EU,” he continued.
“The written submissions received and, at our meetings, the witnesses provided the Committee with an insight into several areas where it was felt that Ireland’s approach towards drug policies could be re-examined.
“Among these areas include the potential to decriminalise the possession of certain amounts of drugs for personal use; the potential to introduce a regulatory model surrounding drug usage; the potential benefits or drawbacks of such approaches, and the experiences and policies of other jurisdictions in relation to drug use and possession.”
Earlier this year, the Irish government agreed an outline for legislation that would allow nightclubs to open later until 6:AM. Currently licensing laws mean that they have to shutter at 2:30AM.
Isaac Muk is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter