Many countries of the world have currently legalized the use of medical marijuana with recreational use not looking too far behind. While this seems to be the trend of cannabis legalization nowadays, there are many nations which still haven’t gone down that road. Let us take Ireland for example. As a country that is ripe with culture and tradition, they have numerous opportunities to further push the legalization of cannabis around the world. However, this is not quite the case. In fact, if compared to most European countries, Ireland seems to be taking some steps back from the legalization of cannabis cultivation and marijuana consumption
So what exactly is the current situation of cannabis in Ireland? How does this affect the citizens? Are there any pushes towards the nationwide legalization of its use and consumption? We are going to discuss the history of cannabis and Ireland. In addition to this, we are also going to do a little deep dive into the current stand that Ireland has with regard to marijuana legalization.
THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN IRELAND:
From what we know, Ireland’s history with cannabis started much like the majority of Europe’s countries. During the late 1800s, people from Ireland found themselves making use of the substance for both medical and recreational purposes. However, this led to numerous side effects that seemed to alter a person’s thinking. Upon further studying the drug, the Irish government decided to implement the Dangerous Drug Act of 1934 which prohibited the use of marijuana buds and flowers.
However, like many parts of the world, this did little to prevent the uprising of marijuana usage in Ireland. In between the 1950s and 1960s, the world saw a significant spike in the usage of cannabis and this included Ireland. But they saw a way to regulate and avoid the risk of substance abuse. During the year of 1968, the Irish government established a program called the “Working Program on Drug Abuse”. Among other things, this program highlighted the opportunity to preserve the medical and legal status of cannabis under maintenance for the time being. Additionally, it also stated that possession of a “small amount of marijuana” must not be punishable by law. This led to the segregation of marijuana from other illegal substances and it has been treated as such ever since.
CANNABIS TODAY: IRELAND
In today’s set up, Ireland currently prohibits the use and possession of both the marijuana substance and resin. This is quite alarming as common practice in other nations is more concerned about the actual use of the drug instead of the parts of the cannabis plant. With this, possession of anything directly related to cannabis is a legal ground for imprisonment and charging of fines.
Keep in mind, however, that the possession of raw and uncultivated cannabis seeds is legal. While marijuana is listed among the items under a list of harsher drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Law, the actual practice of law seems to be looser as compared to others. This means that persecutions may be less stringent as compared to the use of, say, cocaine or heroin.
If there is any light at the end of the tunnel for marijuana in Ireland, then it will mainly lie on the medical use of cannabis. While the recreational use of the drug is entirely illegal, medical prescriptions are a possibility in Ireland albeit only for special cases. It is not openly accessible to the public and an attending physician that specializes in cannabis can only prescribe it to patients under certain conditions.
However, the full legalization of medical marijuana seems to edge closer and closer to fruition during recent years. During 2014, the Law governing marijuana as a substance was redesigned to make way for medicinal development using properties found in the cannabis plant. Up until today, numerous laws are being reviewed which would further loosen the policies of medical cannabis. Although the exact details of the programs are yet to be revealed, it will definitely manifest in the years to come.
Ireland isn’t exactly what people would call a “marijuana destination” for smokers around the world. However, the legalization of the drug may very well start to develop albeit slowly in the coming years. All we can do is hope for the best and continue to support the legalization of marijuana in any way that we can.