Ireland to examine possibility of decriminalising cannabis

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin is to examine the possible decriminalisation of cannabis in his new role as Minister of State with Responsibility for the Drug Strategy.

The Labour TD’s new position was confirmed in the Dáil on Thursday by Tanaiste Joan Burton.

He said his first task will be to examine the National Drugs Strategy which expires next year.

Mr Ó Ríordáin said he is willing to examine to the potential relaxation of the laws.

He said: “I believe someone who has an addiction issue should be dealt with through the health system and not the criminal justice system.


Northern Ireland: Synthetic cannabinoids users hospitalised

The Public Health Agency has moved to warn users of the risks after receiving reports of cases where people have suffered symptoms including anxiety, breathing difficulties and loss of consciousness.

Some people have reported experiencing hallucinations which have prompted them to try to harm themselves or others.

Synthetic cannabinoids use a substance called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC to mimic the effects of cannabis, but some can produce effects more like those of psychedelic or dissociative drugs.

“People may experience acute mental and physical health problems when using synthetic cannabinoids as they have assumed that the dose to be taken is similar to that of cannabis,” Owen O’Neill, from the PHA, said.


Northern Ireland: Cannabis party launches manifesto

Vulnerable people are missing out on medical treatment due to governmental refusal to treat cannabis the same way as alcohol, a newcomer to election campaigning has claimed.

The Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol party (Cista) is calling for a Royal Commission to review current UK drug laws.

Its goal is to achieve the decriminalisation of cannabis and the establishment of a regulated industry for its supply.

The party, which was founded earlier this year by Paul Birch, the co-founder of social networking site Bebo, launched its Northern Ireland manifesto in Belfast tonight.

It is fielding 32 candidates in the UK.


Medical marvel: the uses of cannabis continue to grow

Spare a thought for Bert Trautmann, a goalkeeper who suffered two cracked vertebrae in his neck while playing for Manchester City in the 1956 FA Cup final. “He played on for the last 15 minutes and made saves that won them the game,” says Prof David Finn. No subs were allowed back then.


Woman held in skunk cannabis probe

Large amounts of cash have been seized as part of the police probe into the supply of skunk cannabis.

She was detained in the Birmingham area after organised crime officers searched a number of properties and has been brought to Northern Ireland for questioning.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Detective Inspector Andy Dunlop, who is leading the investigation, said: "I believe this is a significant arrest and this investigation is making substantial progress."

More than £2 million of cannabis and large amounts of cash have been seized as part of the police probe.

Thirteen people have been arrested, eight of whom have been charged.

The PSNI has been working alongside Italian police and the National Crime Agency.


High time for cannabis cures in Ireland

Medicinal cannabis has become a fast-growing multi-­billion dollar global industry. But Irish people with MS and other conditions are still in a legal limbo, left to buy the drug on the street.

Six months after Marie Fleming passed away after a long battle with multiple sclerosis, her partner Tom Curran revealed she had been smoking cannabis to help ease her pain.

After Fleming died in December 2013, shortly after losing a landmark case against the State to lift the ban on assisted suicide, Curran said he had grown cannabis for his partner.


Peter Robinson's anger over party political broadcast for cannabis campaign party Cista in Northern Ireland

A new party campaigning for the relaxation of the laws on cannabis will spark up debate after it secured a party political broadcast in Northern Ireland.

Their breakthrough came last night when they recruited a third candidate to run for them, automatically qualifying them for a broadcast.

The party is called Cista (Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol) and its latest recruit is Neil Paine, a 45-year-old former British soldier who lives in Coleraine. He is standing in East Londonderry where he hopes to unseat Gregory Campbell of the DUP.


It's time to strike up a conversation about cannabis and MS, says Irish healthcare firm

Dr James Linden spoke to Sean Moncrieff about how patients and researchers are caught in a legal grey area

It was an Irish doctor, one William Brooke O'Shaughnessy, who first pioneered using cannabis for medical relief. In 1839, the Limerick-born physician published one of the world’s first research paper on the drug’s medicinal qualities, having used Indian hemp – then known as gunjah – to treat tetanus and other diseases.

Now, 176 years later, and another Irish doctor is hoping to explore the medical qualities of marijuana, and saying it’s high time that the Irish authorities changed the law to offer relief to thousands of people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis.


Ireland POLL: Should cannabis ever be legalised?

Senator James Heffernan and Dr Chris Luke lay out the pros and cons for leagalising cannabis in Ireland. Have your say in our poll below.


Yes, because criminals control its distribution and its illegality is attractive to impressionable young people, says Senator James Heffernan

IF people want to relax of an evening, and if they smoke a joint to do that, well, I don’t have a problem with that. It’s wrong to criminalise a person for using a recreational drug.

Go to any festival in the country and you’ll see recreational drugs everywhere. There’s not a major hassle about that.


Irish Defence: Tomato plants miraculously converted themselves into cannabis plants

A man whose tomato plants “miraculously converted themselves” into cannabis plants has been given an eight-month sentence, suspended for two years, on condition he grows no more illegal drugs.

Father of five Daniel Johnson (34), of Garryglass, Cahersiveen, pleaded guilty at the February sitting of Cahersiveen District Court to two counts – of unlawfully cultivating cannabis and unlawfully possessing cannabis on September 18th, 2013.


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