In a historic move, Irish Garda Headquarters announced that the personal use of cannabis will now be dealt with within the “adult caution system.” The new rules come into force to provide the authorities with more time to focus on more serious offences in the country.
The Irish Times reports that people caught with cannabis will now be processed through the so-called adult caution system instead of being prosecuted and given a criminal record.
According to Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTE), the scheme is used for “minor offences such as being drunk and disorderly, theft, damage to or handling of stolen property worth less than €1,000 or failure to comply with the directions of the Garda in certain circumstances.”
Starting with immediate effect, the Garda announced on Wednesday, cannabis possession is one of the four offences that has been added to the scheme.
The decision is deemed “historic” as reportedly it is the first time in Ireland that “an illicit drugs offence can be dealt with outside the conventional criminal justice system, using a prosecution-based process.”
The Irish Times says then Minister for Health Simon Harris claimed back 2019 that the move would affect around 12,000 people a year.
However, Garda was essentially against the proposal as they argued that people would feel being encouraged and free to carry and possess drugs on the streets.
In the observation, the IT quotes, they wrote: “drug dealers and their couriers may adapt their behaviour to carry small quantities of drugs in the knowledge that they are permitted to possess a quantity of drugs for personal use.”
Ireland has changed its approach to cannabis recently. This week, we’ve just reported that medical cannabis patients will be able to have access to cannabis on a permanently after the temporary scheme introduced by the Irish government during the first coronavirus lockdown ends.
Moreover, cannabis advocates have been pressing the Irish government to reform its cannabis policy.