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Why Is Cannabis Reform So Hard To Achieve In Ireland?

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Back in December 2022, Ireland’s Oireachtas Justice Committee issued a report in which it recommended that Ireland consider legalizing cannabis for adult use to help combat the unregulated market.

As we have learned via Germany’s legalization effort, members of the European Union are not permitted to legalize nationwide adult-use cannabis sales, however, member nations can reform laws in such a way that the main goal of reform is to reduce the consumption of cannabis sourced from the unregulated market.

Reforms involving permitting adults to cultivate, possess, and consume cannabis are within the parameters of continental agreements, as are noncommercial cannabis clubs and regional adult-use cannabis commerce pilot programs.

Unfortunately, a recent scheduled vote for an adult-use legalization measure was delayed for at least nine months in Ireland, as originally reported by Marijuana Moment:

The Irish government is proposing to delay a vote on advancing a bill to legalize marijuana possession by nine months, asserting that the issue requires consideration by a special committee.

Ryan McHale Crainn, executive committee member of the Irish drug policy reform organization Crainn, told Marijuana Moment that the “delay tactic from the Irish Government on cannabis decriminalisation is disappointing given the clear calls from the Citizens’ Assembly and overwhelming public support for the measure.”

Cannabis reform is gaining momentum in many European nations, largely led by Germany. Germany recently announced that its governing coalition has reached a final agreement, with the first components of the nation’s legalization model set to start on April 1st.

Once Germany legalizes, the Czech Republic is set to follow, and it’s virtually guaranteed that other nations will follow suit. The premise behind German legalization is the same as the premise that the previous Oireachtas Justice Committee report recommended – to end cannabis prohibition for personal use and allow nonprofit sources to operate to help eliminate the use of unregulated cannabis products.

Unfortunately, that may not happen for some time in Ireland due to the ongoing delay tactics being incorporated by cannabis opponents.