Dispel the Myths

There exists misinformation around the topic of drug decriminalisation. If you are unsure about what this policy means then read below.


verb (used with object)

1. to eliminate criminal penalties for or remove legal restrictions against:

to decriminalise drugs

2. to remove (an action) from the legal category of criminal offence:

to decriminalise the possession of cannabis

Frequently Asked 

What is Drug Decriminalisation?

With decriminalisation, the possession of drugs for personal use is not a criminal offence.

Why is Decriminalisation important in Ireland?

Under the current regime to criminalise and eliminate drugs from Irish society since the 1970's people who use drugs have become the target of one of the most injust policies against civil liberties in history. There has been unnecessary stigma placed against people who use drugs resulting in restrictions against free movement to travel and certain employment options. The criminalisation of drugs has not resulted in the intended consequences to reduce drug use and overdoses are among the highest in Ireland among any country in the EU.

Will drug use increase?

There is no link between prohibiting something and access in society. Alcohol prohibition in the United States is a prime example of how black markets continue to serve a demand even outside of the law. Drugs are no different today and people's desire to take them stem from deeper inter-personal issues than their legality.

What is Harm Reduction?

Harm reduction is an approach to lessen the harms associated with a variety of human behaviours. For example, the distribution of free contraception or enforcing the wearing of seatbelts. When applied to drugs this can include a range of services including drug testing at festivals, drug consumption rooms, heroin assisted therapy, needle exchange, cannabis social clubs, etc.

Will Home Cultivation of Cannabis be Decriminalised?

In 2015 the Oireachtas Justice Committee included "1 or 2 cannabis plants" in it's recommendations to deal with drug possession for personal use under a Civil/Administrative approach.

Additional Resources

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