New policy would allow Dutch-style coffee shops
The Green Party has called for the decriminalization of cannabis, saying the current law has "made criminals out of decent people" and needs to change.
The party's proposals calls for criminal offences to be removed for people over the age of 18 for possessing less than five grams of cannabis. The party has also called for access to cannabis-based medicines under a supervised system similar to Germany and to allow individuals to grow up to two cannabis plants in their own home for personal use.
Gardaí would be instructed to tolerate Dutch-style "coffee shops" allowing the consumption and sale of cannabis for over-18s under certain conditions.
Launching its policy on Saturday at the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) National Conference in the Cork Institute of Technology, Oliver Moran, the party's representative in Cork North Central, said:
“Our policy comes from an aspiration for harm reduction. The Dutch model, with regulated cultivation, is safer than what we have now. Many of the potential objections such as addiction, teenage access, clarity on its medical impact and so on are not addressed at all by the current system.
“But, for me personally, what this policy represents is that it is part of the movement of maturing that's happening in Ireland. The lifting of a veil over taboos and criminality that covered the reality that we already knew was there and that made criminals out of decent people and sufferers out of medical patients. That made men and women feel like they had to act in secret for doing something as normal as taking medicine or having a glass of wine in the evening.
Mr Moran praised the work done by SSDP and other organisations in raising the level of discussion on cannabis-related issues:
“It's no longer all that unusual or 'out there' to support the legalisation of cannabis. But we still need vocal support for drug law reform to build political will. That's what you and this conference is an example of.
“Referendums on same sex marriage and abortion would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. It took ordinary people who weren't afraid to tell their stories to normalise the everyday and break those taboos.”
The Green Party’s policy on cannabis can be found here.
The Green Party’s submission to the consultation on the National Drugs Strategy (2016) can be found here.