Ireland Decriminalizes Weed, Coke, Heroin: The Party's Back
Remember back in March when Ireland accidentally legalized all drugs for twenty-four hours and people raged their asses off? Well, I’ve got good news and bad news. Just like the new 24-hour breakfast menu at McDonalds, drugs are coming back to the Land of Saints and Scholars (and Blackout Drinking) but like the new 24-hour breakfast menu at McDonalds, it’ll be select items only.
In a news blast that’ll bring a tear to the eye of your local Irish dealer, personal use of weed, cocaine and heroin is set to be decriminalized in Ireland over the next year. National Drugs Safety minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin announced the groundbreaking plan during a speech at the London School of Economics on Monday and also spoke to The Irish Times about his long-term plans to open medically supervised injection rooms sometime next year. It’ll still be illegal to sell, distribute, or profit from illicit drugs, but it won’t be a crime to be a drug user or addict. Party on.
“I am firmly of the view that there needs to be a cultural shift in how we regard substance misuse if we are to break this cycle and make a serious attempt to tackle drug and alcohol addiction,” said Mr. Ríordáin. “Research has shown that the use of supervised injecting centres is associated with self-reported reductions in injecting risk behaviours.” The first injection center will open in Dublin early next year before expanding gradually across the country—following in Cork, Galway and Limerick.
Irish officials are reportedly working closely with Portuguese officials on the rollout of legalization to hammer out technicalities. Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001 and have seen an overall drop in usage since. The news also jives with the leaked documents from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime that indicate it will call for the decriminalization of consumption of drugs on public health and human rights grounds, and the gradual push by President Obama and Bernie Sanders to decriminalize marijuana use in the United States.
The simple fact is that people use drugs whether they are illegal or not. With a push for decriminalization and the implementation of safe injection centers, Ireland is showing that drug use is more than just party and bullshit. Drugs are serious business and criminalizing their use ruins peoples’ lives—what’s good, American War on Drugs? Let’s hope that Ireland’s move pushes the rest of the world towards a safe, legal, and compassionate response to drug use. In the meantime, we’ll be planning a 2016 pilgrimage to Ireland.
Images via Sarah Elizabeth Meyler, The Oprah Winfrey Show,