Ireland has become the latest European country to consider legislation to legalize some form of adult-use cannabis.
The legislation would allow adults 18 and older to possess up to 7 grams of cannabis or 2.5 grams of cannabis resin for personal use, the news outlet reported. Viewed largely as a decriminalization bill, the legislation would not tee up commercial cannabis cultivation or sales, according to Forbes, nor would it allow the cultivation of cannabis for personal use.
“The bill is quite moderate,” Kenny said during the debate in the lower house of the Irish Parliament, called the Dáil Éireann, according to Forbes. “It amends existing legislation that dates back 42 years. Forty-two years is a very long time. I believe the existing legislation is out of date and out of time. We need a different narrative around drug reform.”
Debate on the bill is expected to continue into early next year, Forbes reported, and if ultimately approved, the legislation will amend the Misuse of Drugs Act that took effect in 1977.
The bill could face opposition from the Irish government; the current coalition between Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green party has not held a favorable stance on cannabis policy reform, according to the news outlet.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Ireland’s Prime Minister, has also expressed concerns about cannabis use, particularly as it relates to youth, Forbes reported.
“I think we have to be careful that we don’t glamorize cannabis either because there are real concerns within the health community and the medical community about what cannabis can do to young people,” Martin said during an interview with the Irish Independent. “I would prefer a system that decriminalizes in the sense that it were there to help people with challenges with harmful substances such as cannabis. Cannabis can do real harm too, to young people, and many people in the medical world have said that to me. That’s just a concern I have. I’ve been a strong advocate for the facilitation of medical cannabis for people.”
Ireland launched a medical cannabis pilot program in 2019 that allows citizens to access cannabis-based products for medical use for five years.
Earlier this year, the Irish government began preparing for the Citizen’s Assembly on Drug Use, which will meet next year to discuss legal and policy concerns, as well as make recommendations to the Oireachtas, Forbes reported, adding that the assembly could provide an opportunity to further discuss the cannabis bill.
“I hope the government can support this legislation,” Kenny said, according to the news outlet. “It is timely. Different parts of the world are looking at different models which do not criminalize people and which take a harm-reduction approach. I look forward to the debate.”