Marijuana legalization has become a viral topic for discussion worldwide, with more and more nations easing their attitude toward cannabis use. It won’t be incorrect to say that times are changing when it comes to the legal status of cannabis around the globe. As a consequence, many are wondering if weed is legal in their own nation. For some, this conjures the question: Is weed legal in Ireland? Can I Buy Cannabis in Ireland? Let’s try to find the answers!
Ireland is an EU nation that chose a strict stance on weed. But, as more countries across the globe plan to legalize cannabis, it looks that the Irish are beginning to change their perceptions.
In June 2019, the Ireland Minister of Health signed off on a program to promote access to medical marijuana products for five years. This is an essential first piece of marijuana legislation, but will Ireland authorize cannabis for good? Read on to find out.
This article will explore a few aspects of cannabis in Ireland, such as its history in the nation, laws and regulations regarding possession, cultivation, and buying marijuana in Ireland, and much more!
Let’s see how cannabis came to Ireland!
Footsteps of Cannabis in Ireland
Technically, weed has been banned in Ireland for slightly longer than in the United States. The Dangerous Drugs Act of 1934 antecedes the Marihuana Tax Act by three years.
In Ireland’s variant, the Free State prohibited cannabis and weed resin. It substituted the 1920 version of the act, which was a United Kingdom law passed before the institution of the Irish Free State on 6 December 1922.
The suspicion of the herb in Ireland is more entertaining when you recognize that it was an Irishman who apparently proposed it to the Western world.
Dr. William O’Shaughnessy took it with him into Europe upon his return from India in 1839. On his journeys, he saw its medicinal results, particularly its patent capacity to reduce pain. He used it on his cases. The drug continued to be popular in medical groups until the early 20th century.
Despite the ban, or maybe because of it, cannabis use in Ireland rose towards the end of the 1960s. In an effort to solve the query, the administration created a Working Party on Drug Abuse in 1968.
The group published a report after three years, suggesting that the legal and medical state of marijuana remained under review. It also recommended prison time for the crime of possessing a small quantity of the item.
The 1934 legislation was replaced by the 1977 Misuse of Drugs Act and put marijuana in a different legal category to other narcotics. Irish law enforcement (known as the gardai) can use inclination when it intercepts recreational users in the act.
After an arrest, the weed sample is sent to the Police Forensic Science Laboratory for examination. Given the time and money involved, it is exceptional for the gardai to push for pursuance in minor cases.
Marijuana Legalization in Ireland
Cannabis is illegal for recreational usage in Ireland, you. However, despite the comparatively uncompromising attitude of the government on prosecuting offenders, the nation is surprisingly tolerant about CBD and medical marijuana – both of which are legal.
Ireland is also capitalizing on the economic possibilities that industrial hemp offers.
Possession and Consumption of Cannabis in Ireland
Under the Misuse of Drugs Acts (1977-2016), possessing marijuana is illegal in Ireland. The act differentiates between possession for private use and possession with intent to sell, and the penalties reflect this.
If the police find you with weed for the first or second time, you may get a fine of €1,000 in the District Courts. If the case heads to a sentence by accusation in the High Courts, the judge can extend the penalty to €1,270 for a first offense and €2,540 for a second. For instance, if the police find the quantity of marijuana excessive.
Offend a third time or more, and you might have to face a jail sentence. It is currently up to one year in jail for a summary conviction and up to three years if they convict you on an accusation.
The Criminal Justice (Community Service) Act 2011 indicates that courts must think of giving a community help order in place of a prison order, in all situations where up to a year’s custody is considered the proper punishment.
Is the Cultivation of Cannabis Legal?
Even though marijuana seeds are openly accessible in the nation, it’s not allowed to cultivate your own weed plants in Ireland. The government has also banned cannabis cultivation accessories in line with the Psychoactive Substances Act.
However, this hasn’t obstructed some Irish residents from trying to grow it, and numbers imply that rates of homegrown cannabis are on the rise.
According to one review, the police seized 60 major marijuana-producing industries. They took plants with a total street amount exceeding €6million.
What are the Laws for Medical Marijuana in Ireland?
Despite its rigid stance on cannabis, Ireland has a long past permitting drug trials for marijuana extracts. Ireland first gave a license to GW Pharmaceuticals to test the effects of Nabiximols (Sativex) back in 2002.
The experiment was considered a fortune, and in 2014 the Irish legislature revised the cannabis regulations of the country to legalize Nabiximols to be prescribed to patients.
This revision enabled doctors to prescribe marijuana to patients who had multiple sclerosis or epilepsy. It can also be beneficial for those going through chemotherapy treatments for cancer.
The first patient to utilize medicinal marijuana in Ireland was a two-year-old boy with Dravet syndrome who started his cannabis treatment in Colorado.
Then, in June 2019, the Irish Minister of Health approved a pilot program for medical marijuana. The Medical Cannabis Access Programme modifies the 2014 legislation and extends the list of drugs victims can access.
Now, doctors can prescribe three cannabis-based products as a medication, instead of just a single one.
However, this pilot program permits marijuana suppliers to ask for a license to supply the Irish medical system with marijuana products so that the list might develop in the future.
Hemp and CBD
The Irish people have been producing hemp for hundreds of years before the government banned it at the beginning of the 20th century. Later, in 1995, the Irish government uplifted the prohibition on hemp and enabled farmers to cultivate it on farms.
Growers who want to produce hemp have to apply for a permit from the Department of Health and Children. The department approves the license only if you have planted cannabis far from public roads. All the seeds utilized should belong to weed strains that hold less than 0.2 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Irish producers are not mad about hemp, and only a few grow it these days. But, given the fact that the cannabis market proves to be beneficial, more breeders might think growing it in the near future.
Moreover, Irish laws do not ban the production, distribution, and sale of cannabidiol (CBD). The government knows that CBD does not generate psychoactive effects. That is why they support the sale of CBD products that have THC concentrations less than 0.2 percent.
The officials in Ireland do, however, prevent sellers from advertising hemp and CBD oils as a cure. Sellers can sell the oils as meal supplements, but they cannot make any health claims regarding their products.
If the sellers declare that specific hemp products provide health benefits, they have an obligation to be approved by the Health Products Regulatory Authority or risk a penalty.
Can You Sell or Buy Cannabis in Ireland?
You cannot sell or supply marijuana in Ireland. There are different sentences available depending on many factors, such as:
- The offender’s conditions
- The type of drug
- The amount of cannabis
- Any transaction of controlled drugs such as cannabis can be penalized with a fine of up to €2,500. The offender may have to face a jail sentence of up to a year.
For more significant quantities, sentences can be as harsh as life imprisonment. The minimum penalty for selling weed is currently ten years if the market rate is €13,000 or higher.
In 2013, this sentencing regime was opposed by the Law Reform Commission, based on its presumptive view.
Cannabis users need to refer to the requirements of their regional area before making any purchases about cannabis seeds.
However, with the expanding legalization of marijuana and the public interest increasing, many online seed banks are looking to help deliver marijuana seeds to Ireland.
Marijuana in the Irish Parliament
Cannabis is not a burning issue in Irish politics, but it’s still a question that rises from time to time, generally around major elections. 2020 was a general election year, and the public polls were held on 8 February. Before the elections, the political parties in Ireland shared their opinions on cannabis legalization.
A spokesperson for Fine Gael said that the party has no plans to legalize recreational marijuana. However, the spokesperson also stated that the party would move away from criminalizing first-time offenders.
This would enable first-time offenders to ask for help and support from health or social assistance instead of getting a criminal record that could ruin their lives.
A spokesperson for Fianna Fáil announced that the party thinks Ireland should examine a model of criminalization where proper therapy and healthcare facilities are prioritized over criminal code for drug offenders arrested for personal usage.
The Labour Party stated that obsession is a health problem, and it would not punish minor possession of drugs, somewhat related to what’s occurring in Portugal.
The Green Party said that they would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis in Ireland and provide a prescription of marijuana-based medicines through pharmacies.
Solidarity and their allies, People Before Profit, encourage the decriminalization of all drugs for private use. At the same time, the National Party said that it firmly rejects the decriminalization or legalization of any drug.
Thus, the environment of the Irish government keeps on changing.
Ireland and the ‘green rush‘
Niall Neligan, the founder of the drug policy law reform group, Fweed, put forward a plan to revolutionize marijuana law – and introduce €300million into the economy of the country by 2025.
The programs aim to reduce the black market, protect kids, and give advantages to both public health and scientific research. The experts assumed that the structure will generate 15,000 job opportunities and will also convert Ireland into a major European center for marijuana over the next decade.
If approved, pharmacies would be able to sell medical marijuana to verified patients. They can also organize licensed social organizations for recreational users.
The authority has permitted the grown-ups to purchase up to 60 grams per month (15 grams per week) and give five grams or less. Besides, they can grow six plants at home for personal usage with only three flowerings at the same time.
For therapeutic patients, they have extended the limit to 12 plants with six flowerings simultaneously.
Neligan put forward a strong case to the government, saying that Ireland shouldn’t be carried back by “relying on outdated policies born out of ignorance and social conservatism.“
He also told that, by taking control of marijuana, the criminal activity would lose its strength. “No drug,” he declared, “has ever been made safer in the hands of criminal gangs.”
Cannabis Culture in Ireland
A 2016 research discovered that marijuana use was prevalent among teens (15-18-year-olds), with 39.3% of associates claiming they’d used it. It also noticed that most of these teenagers viewed cannabis as ‘low risk’ to provide mental or physical health issues.
An additional study examined the opinions of common practitioners working in the nation. Although the majority were corresponding legalizing marijuana for recreational usage, many admitted that it should be allowed for medical objectives.
Although there is still some resentment towards weed use in Ireland, it appears that attitudes are evolving rapidly. Many people have identified the benefits of medical marijuana, while a few speaking out against it.
Top 5 reasons why Ireland should legalize marijuana in 2020
- Cannabis legalization is a global phenom
- Alcohol is a huge issue in Ireland
- Cannabis benefits get junkies off their opiates/opioids
- Police can solve REAL crimes
- We can take advantage of the health benefits of marijuana and CBD
To read about these in detail, Click Here!
Will Ireland Legalize Cannabis in the Future?
New research that surveyed 7,005 Irish residents revealed that 87.1 percent of the members believed that it would be easy or effortless to purchase cannabis in 24 hours.
So, weed is accessible to get a hold of in Ireland. This suggests that the Irish administration should manage the trade to defend its civilians and tax it to expand its budget.
Besides, 74.5 percent of the respondents admitted that people should use marijuana for medical benefits, so the current policy of the country on medical marijuana could be developed.
Since a large portion of the population thinks cannabis can be used for therapeutic purposes, the government should consider authorizing marijuana flowers for this reason.
But the research also explained that the majority of the members (66.4 percent) thought that people shouldn’t utilize cannabis recreationally. Irish legislators should discuss with more of their citizens and with medical experts before passing a law in this direction.
Now, most nations are taking steps towards cannabis legalization because the experience of many North American states has shown that marijuana legalization can be beneficial for local budgets. The excess income could help any country, including Ireland.
However, marijuana legalization doesn’t seem to be a preference for the Irish parliament at the moment. So it won’t happen soon. Ireland will probably not legalize cannabis for recreational usage until the late 2020s or the 2030s.
If the greenness of the nation showed the level of cannabis growth and recognition, Ireland would be on the top. Sadly, it doesn’t act that way. Ireland has been rather harsh in its cannabis laws. Only lately making insignificant loosening changes in the form of a pilot medical cannabis program.
For a nation like Ireland that already got a way to be enticing to medically oriented pharmacies, the outcome of legalization might be way more effective when looking at marketing models than individual health or rights concerns.
Neligan’s plans indicate a clear profit from the government in terms of exploring opportunities. It will create opportunities for both public safety and health, and for the economy of the country.
Moreover, the recent actions taken to make medical marijuana more widely available signify that opinions are changing.
Considering all the things in mind, we can conclude that Ireland may quite follow in the footprints of Canada and legalize both medical and recreational usage of cannabis. But it won’t happen so soon.
Want to know more about marijuana, See Here!
- 1 Footsteps of Cannabis in Ireland
- 2 Marijuana Legalization in Ireland
- 3 What are the Laws for Medical Marijuana in Ireland?
- 4 Can You Sell or Buy Cannabis in Ireland?
- 5 Marijuana in the Irish Parliament
- 6 Cannabis Culture in Ireland
- 7 Will Ireland Legalize Cannabis in the Future?
- 8 Summing Up