The Irish Garda have announced that the personal use of cannabis will now be handled within the adult caution system instead of criminal prosecution. The new laws will be implemented to give authorities more time to focus on more severe offences in Ireland.
The Irish Times reported that individuals caught with cannabis will be dealt with through the Irish caution system as opposed to being prosecuted and given a criminal record.
The scheme is currently used for offences such as being drunk and disorderly, damage, theft and handling stolen property with a value of less than 1000 Euros. The caution system also deals with people who disobey the Irish Garda in a manner that is deemed to be worthy of a caution.
Commencing on the 23rd of December 2020, in Ireland possessing cannabis is one of four new offences that has been added to the caution list and is now dealt with under the caution scheme rather than criminal prosecution.
This historic legislation change is the first time in Irish history that the possession of an illegal drug or any other offence pertaining to an illicit substance will be handled outside of the conventional Irish criminal justice system.
It is estimated that this ruling will impact approximately 12,000 people per year in Ireland. However, the Irish Garda were opposed to the law change as they felt it would encourage people to carry cannabis on them and freely possess marijuana and cannabis.
It was argued that drug dealers and their roadmen would now adopt their behaviour, ensuring that they always carry a smaller amount of cannabis that would enable them to have plausible deniability and would enable them to avoid prosecution.
Ireland is gradually altering its stance on cannabis and medical cannabis patients in Ireland will now have access to medical cannabis on a permanent basis as the temporary scheme introduced by the Irish government ends.
There are many cannabis advocates throughout Ireland who are pressuring the government to reform its policy surrounding cannabis.