Irish Court Decision Legalizes Drugs, But Only Until Tomorrow

Possession of ecstasy and other drugs is currently legal in Ireland, but only for a day, after a court ruling on Tuesday morning.


A written judgment released by the Republic’s court of appeal said part of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977, which allows certain substances to be controlled, is unconstitutional, meaning all government orders banning substances such as ecstasy and magic mushrooms are void – and it is not an offence to possess them.

Specifically, the court found that the act was being added to via ministerial order and without consulting the Oireachtas (both houses of the Irish parliament) and deemed this unconstitutional.

The appeal court’s ruling came in favour of a man who was prosecuted for possession of methylethcathinone, which was among a number of substances put on the controlled drugs list in 2010.

Stanislav Bederev denied the charge of having the substance for supply in 2012, and then brought a high court challenge in Dublin seeking to stop his trial, claiming that additions to the 1977 act were unconstitutional.

Bederev’s legal team argued it was not lawful to put the substance on the controlled drug list because there are no principles and policies guiding the introduction of such rules – and specifically no consultation with the Irish parliament.

The Irish government now has to force through emergency legislation in its parliament on Tuesday evening in response to the ruling.

The emergency law won’t come into place until the Republic’s second chamber, the Seanad, endorses the legislation. Following that the country’s president, Michael D Higgins, will have to gave his approval.

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