19th October 2016 | Uncategorised

Green Party call for decriminalising drug use and legalising medical use of cannabis

The Green Party have called for the decriminalisation of drug use and the legalisation of cannabis for medical use among their recommendations to the Government’s new National Drugs Strategy. The public consultation on the new strategy closed yesterday.
Speaking in support of the submission, Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan TD said:
“Opportunities for open consultation on government policy are very welcome, particularly when it comes to matters as important as our National Drugs Strategy, and we’re glad that the Government sought submissions on this issue. There has to be an acceptance that the current situation in Ireland is not working for anyone, and that a new National Drugs Strategy presents an opportunity to change this.
“The Green Party supports implementing a regime of decriminalising drug use in Ireland, along the lines of Portuguese reforms in 2001. The Portuguese model reduces the burden on law enforcement and the criminal justice system, facilitates better research on the health impact of drugs and undermines the profit making abilities of criminal gangs. The current system is not working, so we’d like to see the new National Drugs Strategy address the inherent shortcomings.”
Green Party spokesperson for Health, Dr. Séamus McMenamin, says that a focus on harm-reduction is not only more compassionate but more effective in tackling drug use. 
He said: “International best practice is moving towards this harm-reduction model over a criminal-justice approach. This is partly because honest interactions with drug users can better inform our research into issues around drugs. This doesn’t happen when drug users are treated like criminals. The Green Party proposes injection centres that provide medically-supervised access to drugs to aid rehabilitation, the legal status of drugs to be reviewed in light of evidence for medical benefits, in particular the legalisation of cannabis for medical use, and drug testing kits being made available to the public in places like night clubs and music festivals, to prioritise public health in those circumstances.”
Summary of Green Party recommendations:
1.     A time-frame for decriminalising the use of drugs in national law.
2.     A review of the legal status of drugs with established medicinal properties.
3.     A particular review of the legal status of cannabis.
4.     Legal availability of cannabis products for medically-prescribed use.
5.     Research focus on effective intervention with young adult drug users.
6.     Provision of information exchange between drug users and researchers.
7.     Provision of centres for safe access to drugs under medical supervision.
8.     Provision of drug-testing services.
9.     Monitoring quality and public health impact of drugs on the Irish market.
10.   Research focus on lifestyle factors that reduce the likelihood of drug use.
11.   Research focus and public education on effective rehabilitation strategies.
12.   Require sports clubs to promote responsible alcohol consumption.
The full Green Party submission can be found here.