Galway Greens call for decriminalisation of Cannabis

The provincial government is setting the legal age for the purchase possession and consumption of cannabis at 19

The provincial government is setting the legal age for the purchase possession and consumption of cannabis at 19

This is the view of the Green Party's Galway West candidate, Pauline O'Reilly, who was speaking following the party's launch of a new policy document on the decriminalisation of cannabis.

According to the party's proposals, a Government licence would be required to commercially cultivate cannabis plants, while personal cultivation would be restricted to "two plants per private residence".

In Canada, legislation to legalise cannabis is set to begin on July 1 this year - the Canadian law would allow up to 30g of cannabis possession for personal use. People who would want to use cannabis for medical purposes would have access to it through their doctors.

The party is also proposing that criminal offences be removed for people over the age of 18 for possessing less than five grams of cannabis and for access to cannabis-based medicines be permitted.

"Our policy comes from an aspiration for harm reduction".

The Greens point out that numerous potential objections to cannabis use, such as addiction, teenage access, and clarity on its medical impact, are "not addressed by the current system", and that the party's policy is aimed at achieving "harm reduction". "Cannabis is being used as a medical treatment and ordinary people are also using it like a glass of wine in the evening".

Health Minister Simon Harris has announced plans to establish a "compassionate access programme" for cannabis where the drug would be made available to patients with specific conditions such as multiple sclerosis or severe epilepsy, however People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny has labelled this proposed scheme "hugely restrictive and totally unworkable".

The Green Party has called for cannabis to be decriminalised, arguing that current legislation has "made criminals out of decent people".

The party is confident that now is the right time for change on cannabis in Ireland.

The creation of a coffee-shop culture in Ireland might be what is needed to incentivise cannabis-takers to use the drug in a regulated environment, he said, stating that his party has looked at other jurisdictions, such as the US States of Colorado and California, where such moves have been successful.

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