Cannabis is illegal for adult-use purposes in Ireland, although, there is a distinction in Ireland’s current law that provides for a different penalty path for personal possession versus selling unregulated cannabis, with personal possession often resulting in a fine versus jail time for selling unregulated cannabis.
The binding law, the Misuse of Drugs Acts, provides for a fine of €1,000 in the District Courts for first and second offenses involving personal possession. Larger fines can be handed down in some instances. If someone commits the offense of personal possession and it’s their third or greater offense of its type, the offender can be sentenced to up to one year in prison.
The Criminal Justice Act in Ireland mandates that courts must consider giving a community service penalty in place of a prison sentence, and that affects some cases. A bill is expected to be introduced in the near future in Ireland that would somewhat mimic the adult-use legalization legislation that was passed in Malta late last year. Per The Journal:
The Dublin Mid-West TD told The Journal it is a relatively short bill, and will amend the current legislation on possession of cannabis, which is the Misuse of Drugs Act.
The amendment doesn’t reference the cultivation of cannabis. It’s anticipated that if the bill is approved by the Dáil – which means it requires the approval of the government parties – then changes regarding cultivation of cannabis could be added at committee stage.
What is reportedly being proposed in Ireland involves allowing people to possess up to seven grams of cannabis. Malta has a similar provision involving the permitted possession of up to seven grams of cannabis when away from the person’s home, with a separate allowance of up to 50 grams within the person’s home. From that standpoint, what is reportedly being proposed in Ireland is different from Malta’s law.
Furthermore, whereas what is reportedly being proposed in Ireland does not involve home cultivation, adult households in Malta can cultivate up to four plants. With all of that being said, even limited legalization in Ireland would be better than what is currently in place. It’s unclear at this time what the chances are of a legalization measure passing in Ireland, although, it will be very interesting to watch the discussion unfold given what is going on elsewhere in Europe on the cannabis policy front.