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Leo Pushes Urgent Appeal to Amended Misuse of Drugs Act

Leo Drugs

Leo Pushes Urgent Appeal to Amended Misuse of Drugs Act

The Court of Appeal ruled on the 10th March 2015 that the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 is to be amended, as the Act was found to be unconstitutional after a High Court judgement that was made in May 2014.  The High Court found that successive Governments were simply adding substances to the list of prohibitive drugs, without re-introducing the Act to the Dáil for approval.

The Government, who has been controlling substances since the Act first took effect in 1977, will no longer exercise this right as the Act ceases to the exist.  Creating a strange situation whereby for 24 hours there was a legal loophole that allowed people to consume grade A drugs.

In 1977, the first Government order was made and eight other amendments to this order were made thereafter, with seven of these operating. This is now the eighth amendment to this order and called the Misuse of Drugs Act.

The most recent order was made in December 2014 when a number of substances were controlled arising from EU Council decisions and thusly, added to the pre existing legislation. Benzodiazepines, plants with psychoactive properties, such as magic mushrooms, synthetic substances sold as bath salts, incense or research chemicals are generally known for their useful medicinal value, but is used by many addicts for purely getting high.  These and other “head shop” drugs were added to the pre – existing act without passing it through parliament making the act has a whole unconstitutional.

In partial explanation for this oversight, the Minister stated “The speed at which new psychoactive drugs emerge is evidenced by data from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, which received reports of 15 new psychoactive substances in 2005 and 73 in 2012,”.  This suggests that merely keeping in time with the increase of new “legal highs” coming out on the market puts stress on the Government to keep the Act updated.

Minister of Health, Leo Varadkar, presented the House with the Amended Bill stating: “I am presenting the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2015 to the House as an emergency measure on foot of a judgment yesterday by the Court of Appeal on the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977.” It will ask that the control the Government had over such substances be re-instated.

Minister Varadkar said to the Seanad in relation to a possible appeal: “This judgment will be carefully examined by my Department and the Attorney General with a view to considering its implications, what future amendments to the legislation may be required and whether an appeal to the Supreme Court is warranted.”

Many users/stoners/smokers are of the opinion that using drugs like cannabis and magic mushrooms are medicinal and that there is enough prove that these Class D drugs can cure health issues like headaches, alcoholism, opiate addictions and post traumatic stress disorders.

People’s views and understanding of what they consider to be dangerous or hazardous drugs are different and so are their reasons for using them.

However, in defence of the new bill’s amended list,  the Minister explains: “These are substances, which are either known to be or have the potential to be dangerous or harmful to human health, including their liability for misuse or causing social harm.

In general, they are substances which affect the central nervous system, producing some mind-altering effect. This may be stimulation, depression, hallucinations or another significant change. Additionally, many of these drugs have the potential to cause addiction or dependence, whether physical or psychological.”

The legal loophole has ended and the bill should be passed in what was an embarrassing moment for the State’s Legislature.

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