Ireland just made a load of drugs legal, but only for one day

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Tuesday 10 March 2015 17:10
news

A legal loophole means a whole host of drugs - including ecstasy - have technically become legal in the Republic of Ireland, but only for a day.

According to the Journal, a ruling by the country's Court of Appeal on the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 on Tuesday morning made some drugs, which used to be illegal, technically legal.

The court found that the act was unconstitutionally being added to by ministers without consulting the Oireachtas (legislature).

As a result, the Dail (parliament) will sit on Tuesday night to pass emergency legislation, but according to reports that new bill can only come into force the day after it has been ruled on.

We had no way of knowing what the court would decide today, but we prepared for this possibility. Legislation was prepared and approved in advance by cabinet.

The emergency legislation I am introducing today will reinstate the status quo ante and re-control all drugs that were controlled prior to this judgment.

  • Leo Varadkar, Minister for Health

It is not yet exactly clear how long this period of technical legality will last. For a new bill to be passed it must be approved by the Seanad (the upper house), but reports say it will only deal with the issue tomorrow - meaning Irish drug laws could be in a very grey area until midnight on Wednesday.

According to a government statement, the sudden change in the law does not affect the supply, possession or sale of 125 older drugs like heroin, cocaine and cannabis.

However, according to the Irish Times, drugs that have been added to the act since 1977 - "ecstasy, benzodiazepines and new psychoactive substances, so-called ‘headshop drugs’" - are affected. The Journal reports that other drugs like ketamine and magic mushrooms are also affected.

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