Bill to decriminalise possession of cannabis goes before the Dáil

Bill to decriminalise possession of cannabis goes before the Dáil

People Before Profit have stepped up their campaign to have cannabis decriminalised today.

Party TD Gino Kenny brought the Cannabis De-criminal-isation Bill in the Dáil, in an effort to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act.

The bill would enable a person, who is at least 18 years of age, to possess a limited amount of cannabis, up to 7 grams, for personal use.

Deputy Kenny says the current system simply does not work.


"Some call it legalisation, I call it regulation.

"It's a better system, the system at the moment doesn't work.

"Criminalising people for personal cannabis use and possession doesn't work and I think this system is better where there is no criminal sanction but it is a stepping stone to a regulatory system.

"People Before Profit is supportive of the decriminalistion model where people are not criminalised for personal drug use regardless of what they drug us."


Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy Kenny says using criminal convictions in this way is 'barbaric.'

"We need to have a grown up discussion about drug use in this country.

"For too long people are criminalised, people are marginalised and the one thing you don't do to people is that.

"It's never worked, giving people criminal convictions for small amounts of cannabis that follows them around forever, it's barbaric."


Eddie D'Arcy from Youth Workers Against Prohibition says the group has written a letter supporting the reform.

He says too many young lives have been ruined by small possession charges.

"The 150 or so youth workers that have signed this letter, calling for the regulation of cannabis, are very much aware of the consequences that a criminal record of cannabis possession has on young peoples life in terms of work, travel, insurance, education, housing."

Decriminalisation of cannabis is reasonable but we have to be realistic about the drug's impact.

That's the warning from Professor of psychiatry at Trinity College, Brendan Kelly.

Professor Brendan Kelly says we have to think about all angles of the debate before a decision is made.

"The decriminalisation is a reasonable thing to consider but we do need to be realistic.

"The first message is that cannabis presents a risk to mental health.

"The second message is what has happened where it is decriminalised? The black market continues.

"However, there might be some other benefits like prioritising a health response and a social care response because criminalising people who posses small amounts really serves no benefit."

The second stage of the Cannabis Reformation Bill will take place in a private member's time.