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Home > 82. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the steps he is taking to address the growing on line trade in dangerous psychoactive substances. [28287/10]

[Oireachtas] 82. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the steps he is taking to address the growing on line trade in dangerous psychoactive substances. [28287/10]. (30 Jun 2010)

External website: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2010/06/30/00071...


Legislative programme

Minister for Justice, and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): The Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Bill 2010, which was passed by the Seanad last week and is currently before this House, is part of the Government’s multi-pronged approach targeting the sale of unregulated psychoactive substances. The primary vehicles for regulating psychoactive substances are the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 to 2007. On foot of the Government Order of 11 May 2010, the Minister for Health and Children made the necessary statutory instruments to make the possession and sale of certain substances subject to criminal sanctions under the Misuse of Drugs Acts. The regulations covered the mainstream of substances then commonly being sold in head shops and by means of the internet. I understand that the Minister for Health and Children is monitoring closely the emergence of new psychoactive substances and will seek Government approval to ban additional substances if they pose a risk to public health. However, experience has shown that new psychoactive substances can quickly emerge and there will always be a time lag before such new substances can be made subject to control under the Misuse of Drugs Acts.
 
This Bill will therefore introduce more general control by way of criminal justice legislation to deal with such substances as they emerge. The focus of the Bill is on seeking to ensure that the sale or supply of substances, which may not be specifically controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Acts, but which have psychoactive effects, for human consumption will be a criminal offence. The Bill will also give appropriate powers to the Gardaí and to the courts to intervene quickly to prevent the sale of psychoactive substances by way of prohibition notices and prohibition orders. Section 3 of the Bill provides for the offences of selling, importing and exporting psychoactive substances for human consumption.
 
The definition of “sale” is broad and includes supplying, distributing, offering for sale, inviting to buy and being in possession for sale. It will cover sale over the internet or home delivery services within this jurisdiction. Section 5 will prohibit the advertising of psychoactive substances. It provides that it will be an offence for a person to publish or display any advertisement knowing or being reckless as to whether it indicates an intention to sell, import or export a psychoactive substance for human consumption. It will also be an offence to publish an advertisement promoting the consumption of a substance for its psychoactive effect and providing information on how or where a psychoactive substance may be obtained. The term “advertisement” is broadly defined and specifically includes advertising by electronic communication, including by means of the internet. Sections 7 and 8 of the Bill will give appropriate powers to the Gardaí and to the courts to intervene quickly in a non-criminal procedure to prevent the sale or advertisement.

 

Vol. 714 No. 1 
Written Answers. – Legislative Programme
30 June 2010

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