Irish Doctors Against Cannabis Decriminalization, Say ‘It’s Anti-Health’: Government Proposes Nine-Month Vote Delay On Decrim Bill

The Irish government is set to debate a proposed bill to decriminalize cannabis for personal use on Wednesday. However, on Tuesday, Taoiseach Leo Varadka said that Ireland shouldn’t copy other countries’ cannabis policies but instead make its own, proposing a nine-month voting delay. 

Health Minister Stephen Donnely got Cabinet commitment for a nine-month amendment to be placed on the bill in Wednesday’s night vote, reported the Irish Examiner. 

The bill, introduced by Gino Kenny of People Before Profit (an Irish political party), passed the first stage in November 2022 and progressed to the second stage in the lower house in November 2023. In case the bill passes it would make possession of 7g of cannabis legal for adults. 

The news comes on the heels of The Irish Citizen’s Assembly of Drug Use publishing a report recommending drug decriminalization

Paul Reid, the assembly chairman, told the Irish Examiner that the report suggests a “decriminalized” model for individuals caught in possession of drugs for personal use, while the possession would remain illegal under the law. Reid added that the details on how decriminalization would be legally effective are left out to the Oireachtas (the bicameral parliament of Ireland).

Doctors Against Cannabis Bill 

Meanwhile, a group of doctors sent a letter to ministers, party leaders, health spokespeople and members of the Joint Committee on Health urging them to oppose the proposed measure, arguing it is “anti-health,” writes the Irish Times. 

“This Bill proposes legalization, not decriminalization,” their letter states. “Under decriminalization, as used in countries such as Portugal, cannabis use and possession remain prohibited. Decriminalization refers simply to a change in type of sanction, not the elimination of all sanctions and consequences.”

The letter is signed by psychiatrists Prof Bobby Smyth and Prof Matthew Sadlier, public health specialist Dr. Ina Kelly, addiction specialists Dr. Hugh Gallagher and Dr. Íde Delargy, and GP Prof Ray Walley.

See Also: Ireland’s Citizens Assembly Recommends Health-Led Approach To Drugs Instead Of Criminalization

Biedex Markets Cannabis Conferences are coming to Los Angeles. Join the Biedex Markets Cannabis Market Spotlight: California, and unlock the future of cannabis at the premier networking event in Culver City on February 22. Connect with top industry leaders, gain insider insights into the investment landscape and shape the evolving markets in California and beyond. Don’t miss this chance to be at the forefront of the cannabis industry’s growth and innovation! Join now.

Photo: Biedex Markets edit with images by Alejandro Luengo and Jose Luis Sanchez Pereyra via Unsplash