Ireland decriminalises drug possession – a positive step towards cannabis legalisation

Be the pebble, make some ripples

You can still go to jail for possessing personal cannabis

A new policy approach towards possession of illegal drugs for personal use in Ireland was announced by Minister for Health Simon Harris, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and Minister of State for the National Drugs Strategy Catherine Byrne, in Dublin on 2 August 2019.

The policy has a three strike approach:

  1. Being caught in possession of any drug for personal use, including cannabis, heroin and cocaine, will first be referred to health professionals.
  2. A second offence will result in a caution (warning) from police.
  3. A third personal possession offence will give you a day in court, a criminal record and even prison. Gulp.

Minister Harris said: “This approach will not decriminalise drug use; it is a mechanism to defer people to health and social services for help and support. Ministers Flanagan, Byrne and I are very clear that there are no plans to legalise any type of drugs, including cannabis.”

Readathriller hopes that the Irish Government is being deliberately cagey about legalisation of cannabis so the conservative forces in Ireland aren’t woken from slumber while the country quietly pursues aggressive social reform. Because, even though this is a positive step, the reality is that if a police officer sees you smoking a particular plant three times, then you can be sent to prison. That doesn’t sound fair, does it?

Read more

Press release from Irish Department of Health:

Full coverage of this story from RTE:

Check out our post on why Ireland should legalise cannabis (a lot has happened since we published this, just a few weeks ago!).

Read about Ireland’s recent legalisation of medical cannabis.

Gary J Byrnes

By Gary J Byrnes

Gary J Byrnes is a bestselling thriller writer by night and a tech marketing guy by day. Extensive international experience in software startups, SMEs and multinationals. Find on LinkedIn. Has researched hemp, climate change for over twenty years. Writer, blogger, parent, animal lover. 2022 is about building a new business model to enable mass planting of hemp through easy carbon offsetting at

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