Dail committee wants softer drug laws for Ireland
A Dail committee wants to radically change our drug laws by decriminalising possession of small quantities of cannabis and cocaine.
The Herald reports that the Oireachtas Justice Committee is set to advise the government to take a 'radical' strategy on drug policy in Ireland.
They plan to propose that those caught with small amounts of cannabis and cocaine should only be fined, effectively decriminalising those drugs as no criminal record would result.
Chairman of the committee David Stanton backs the plan as he believes it frees up Gardai and the court system to go after the dealers rather than the recreational user.
"What we are talking about is radical and I don't think we could have had this discussion ten years ago but I think it is definitely a system we should seriously consider," Stanton is quoted as saying.
The proposed system, which will be presented to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, is similar to the way Portugal tackles illegal drugs.
They introduced the scheme for all drugs, including heroin, in 2001 and those caught get fined and sent to treatment if they are addicts.
While debate over Portugal's decision continues, the country has seen a reduction in overdose deaths to one of the lowest rates in Europe and they also have a very low rate of 'legal highs' usage.