Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Order of Business [Decriminalisation debate].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Order of Business [Decriminalisation debate]. (19 Oct 2021)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/dail/2...

Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin: The Labour Party has tabled a priority question on the decriminalisation of drug users for answer on Thursday. The Department of Justice has told us it is a matter for the Department of Health and, as a result, this priority question will not be answered by the Minister for Justice. The reason our courts are full of people with drug addictions is that this is a justice issue. It is dealt with by the Department of Justice and falls under the legislation that the Minister for Justice oversees. If we are to have this conversation about the decriminalisation of drug users, I have to ask the Minister for Justice about it. My priority question on Thursday has been disallowed and I have been told it will be put in front of the Minister for Health, Deputy Stephen Donnelly, in two weeks’ time. I ask the Ceann Comhairle's office to intervene

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Thank you, Deputy.

Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin: -----because Members of this House and those we are trying to represent are not well served by Departments and Ministers who are ducking issues that affect very vulnerable people.....

....The Taoiseach: On Deputy Ó Ríordáin's point, I have sympathy with the Deputy's position. He has a strong commitment to this issue. He is an advocate for the decriminalisation of drugs and dealing with drugs from a policy perspective more as a health issue than a criminal issue. I will talk to both Ministers and Departments. I do not tend to know what happens in these situations but it is unfortunate that the Deputy has been denied that opportunity this week. As far as we are concerned, these issues should be thrashed out in the open in Parliament. There is no issue with that. I regret that this happened and I will revert to the Deputy.

Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin: I thank the Taoiseach.


....Deputy Gino Kenny: The programme for government commits to exploring the potential for development of an industrial fibre sector using hemp. Two years ago in this building, one of the recommendations of Ireland's youth assembly was the development of the Irish hemp industry. Hemp has huge potential not only in regard to our climate but also for farmers. There is an unusual lacuna in the Misuse of Drugs Act in regard to growing hemp. Will the Government amend the law around this lacuna?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Thank you, Deputy.

Deputy Gino Kenny: There is a contradiction in the law. The Health Products Regulatory Authority and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland say there is a limit of 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, whereas the Misuse of Drugs Act says it is 0%, so there is a contradiction.

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