One of Ireland's most progressive political parties just kicked off a plan to bring adult-use cannabis legalization to the Emerald Isle.
Gino Kenny of the Solidarity – People Before Profit party just announced a plan to introduce a new cannabis legalization measure before the Dáil Éireann, the lower chamber of Ireland's legislature, in 2021. The party has yet to reveal any further details regarding how they intend to implement cannabis reform, but Kenny did note that it has been almost a decade since Irish politicians broached the subject of adult-use legalization.
“Next year People Before Profit will bring forward legislation to end the prohibition of cannabis in Ireland,” Kenny tweeted. “This will be the first time in eight years that a bill to legalize cannabis will be before the Dáil. Looking forward to the debate ahead in 2021.”
Next year People Before Profit will bring forward legislation to end the prohibition of cannabis in Ireland. This will be the first time in eight years that a bill to legalise cannabis will be before the Dáil. Looking forward to the debate ahead in 2021.— Gino Kenny TD (@Ginosocialist) December 14, 2020
Kenny is already renowned as one of the leading cannabis advocates in Ireland, and his advocacy helped push the country to adopt its current medical marijuana program. This five-year pilot program allows patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy-induced nausea, and severe epilepsy to apply for medical marijuana prescriptions.
Initially, this program forced eligible patients or their caregivers to travel to the Netherlands in order to collect their prescriptions. But once the pandemic made international travel nearly impossible, the Irish government began importing medical pot from the Netherlands as part of a temporary delivery program. Earlier this month, lawmakers decided to make this program permanent, saving families from having to make regular, costly trips to Europe.
Although Ireland's medical cannabis program is a few steps ahead of the UK, it is still extremely limited, and recreational cannabis remains entirely prohibited. The country's weed laws are a bit more chill than Britain's, and cops can't jail someone for pot possession until a third consecutive offense. A first-time possession offense can still lead to a €2,500 fine (over $3,000), though, as well as a permanent criminal record.
But just like everywhere else in the world, prohibition has not stopped people from smoking pot. Since the pandemic hit, the demand for weed has skyrocketed, and Irish drug dealers have reported that their customers are switching from cocaine to weed, Xanax, and other drugs that can help them deal with pandemic-related stress and boredom.