Legislation to decriminalise drugs, including heroin, cocaine and cannabis, for personal use could be enacted in early 2019, Minister of State for the National Drugs Strategy Catherine Byrne has indicated.
On Thursday, she appointed a working group to look at “alternative approaches to the possession of drugs for personal use”. It will have its first meeting on December 11th.
The group, to be chaired by retired judge Garret Sheehan, is expected to produce its first recommendations by May. Consultations with stakeholders will follow, after which final recommendations will be made “be the end of next year or early 2019” she said. Legislation is likely to follow.
The decriminalisation of small amounts of illegal drugs, for personal use, was a key recommendation from the Oireachtas justice committee this year, as a “harm reducing and rehabilitative approach” to chronic drug use.
Welcoming the announcement of the working group, Tony Duffin, chief executive of the Ana Liffey drug project said “congratulations” were due to Ms Byrne.
Source: Kitty Holland, The Irish Times, 01/12/17