Tue, Feb 14, 2023
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I welcome today's Cabinet agreement for a new Citizens’ Assembly on drug use - and I call on the future Assembly to be brave when it comes to drug laws.
The Assembly will consider drug issues - including reform of legislation. It will start its work in April and deliver its conclusions by the end of this year. It will be made up of 99 randomly-selected members of the general public.
The Green Party fought hard to secure a commitment to the Assembly in the 2020 Programme for Government, as a key step in drug law reform and we have continued to highlight and prioritise the establishment of the Assembly throughout the last three years.
The Party’s 2020 manifesto calls for a shift to health-led drug policy, including drug law reform, allowing cannabis prescription, and various measures to decriminalise personal possession.
This is a major step forward for drug policy in Ireland. We need an evidence-based drug policy that comes from a position of harm reduction. Thousands of people in addiction are treated as the enemy, rather than someone in need of help.
The consequences of our approach to drugs affect all parts of our society, undermining our health and justice systems, driving homelessness, and supporting organised crime and anti-social behaviour.
Members of the Citizens’ Assembly need to look at the evidence and be brave in their recommendations. Once we know the Assembly’s conclusions, the Government must act to protect people in addiction.