The Court of Appeal ruled on Tuesday 10th March that part of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 was unconstitutional and it is therefore not an offence to possess certain drugs. Emergency legislation was due to go before the Irish Senate on Wednesday 11th March. The legislation was put forward due to the legal loophole which arose on Tuesday when possession of certain drugs became legal in the Republic of Ireland. The legal loophole does not affect existing laws regarding supply, possession and sales of the more established drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
The Court of Appeal’s ruling came in favour of Stanislav Bederv who was prosecuted for possession of a drug which was put on the controlled drug list in 2010. His legal team argued it was not legal to put the substance on the controlled drug list as there was no policy in place for additions to the 1977 act and it was therefore unconstitutional. It was argued that over 100 psychoactive drugs should have been reviewed by the Irish government before being passed.
Republic of Ireland’s health minister Leo Varadkar has urged anyone who is thinking of taking advantage of the legal loophole to think of their health. All other bills have been postponed until the legal loophole has been rectified. The emergency law will not come into place until the Republic of Ireland’s president, Michael D Higgins, gives his approval.