Drug laws make "criminals out of decent people," warns Green Party in call to decriminalise cannabis
The party's new proposal has called for Dutch-style coffee shops, which would allow the sale and consumption of cannabis.
The Green Party has called for cannabis to be decriminalised, arguing that current legislation has "made criminals out of decent people."
In its proposed policy, the party has requested that it no longer be classed as a criminal offence if a person over the age of 18 is in possession of less than five grams of cannabis.
The party has also called for the Misuse of Drugs act to be amended, individuals to be permitted to grow up to two cannabis plants in their home for personal use, and for access to cannabis-based medicines that can be used under a supervised system similar to that currently in Germany.
In a statement, detailing the proposal the party went on to say that Gardaí would be instructed to tolerate Dutch-style "coffee shops", which allow sale and consumption of cannabis for over-18s, albeit under certain conditions.
Speaking at the policy launch on Saturday, 16 April at the Students for Sensible Drug Policy National Conference in Cork Institute of Technology, Cork North Central representative Oliver Moran 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.
“It's no longer all that unusual or 'out there' to support the legalisation of cannabis," Moran went on to say. "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 party's announcement of this policy coincided with activist, Vera Twomey receiving of a 2018 People of the Year award for her national campaign to legalise medicinal cannabis.
Speaking about her daughter Ava, who suffers from a severe form of epilepsy, Dravet Syndrome, Twomey said on Sunday evening: "It is very hard to watch other parents and families suffering in similar circumstances to ours. I know there are hundreds of people suffering in Ireland who could potentially benefit from medicinal cannabis."
Addressing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who was present at the event, Twomey went on to say: "The outstanding issue is legislation for medical cannabis in Ireland. We need legislation to access treatment properly.
"We want the government and opposition to work together to give the people of Ireland the gift, because it is the gift that Ava has received."