The Green Party supports shifting drugs policy from a criminal justice approach to a public health approach.

The Green Party consider that the approaches used in the past have failed. The focus needs to be shifted from suppressing these substances to tackling the social and public health issues which lead people to use drugs. The Green Party sees drug abuse as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice issue. Removing the criminal label attached to the use of these substances will allow people to access health and social care services without fear. This should lead to a reduction in harm to those individuals, their neighbourhoods and ultimately to society as a whole. There should even be an overall reduction in problematic drug use, as has been recorded in those jurisdictions where liberalisation of drug laws has been implemented alongside public health-based measures.

The Green Party believes the criminalisation of drug consumption is a counter-productive policy that perpetuates business models of organised crime and fails to address the public health impact of drugs. We affirm there is a more compassionate policy based on international best practice that could be introduced within existing constraints under international law. 

Key Policy Points

Remove criminal penalties for possessing less than a week’s supply of a scheduled drug.

Review the status of all scheduled substances for medical potential, allowing for controlled cultivation as deemed appropriate for research purposes.

Pardon and release non-violent, minor, drug offenders.

Support Dual Diagnosis so that the health system may address issues behind drug abuse.

Expand Low Threshold Residential Stabilization Services for holistic treatment.

Expedite drug testing services, particularly at festivals, nightclubs etc.

Allow medically-supervised Drug Consumption Rooms for the phased withdrawal of heroin and other substances as deemed appropriate by the Minister for Health.

Support drug law reform on an international level.

Reschedule cannabis and its derivatives from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule IV drug.

Decriminalise the possession of fewer than five grams of cannabis products.

Decriminalise the possession of fewer than four cannabis plants on private property.

Allow prescription of cannabis-based medicines through pharmacies.

Tolerate regulated cannabis “coffeeshops” selling cannabis from licensed suppliers.

Policy revised: March 2021

UN Sustainable Development Goals: 3, 6, 10, 11

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