Irish Lawmaker Gino Kenny Announces Plans To Push For Cannabis Legalization

Ireland may see new cannabis legislation sooner rather than later.
Irish Lawmaker Gino Kenny Announces Plans To Push For Cannabis Legalization
Gino Kenny with Vera Twomey; image via Kenny’s website

One of Europe’s most prominent pro-medical marijuana lawmakers announced he will be taking part in the fight to end the prohibition of marijuana in Ireland next year.

Since first being elected to Dáil Éireann, Gino Kenny has arguably been one of the top European champions of getting patients access to medical cannabis alongside Irish activists like Vera Twomey, whose mission to get cannabis for her daughter Ava (who suffers from Dravet syndrome) has made headlines in the past few years. Kenny’s years of pressure on fellow Irish lawmakers led to the current five-year test run on medical cannabis. 

Currently, patients with Spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, and severe treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy can apply with Irish health officials to take part in the program. 

Kenny took to Twitter and Facebook this week to announce his plans for 2021. 

“Next year People Before Profit will bring forward legislation to end the prohibition of cannabis in Ireland,” Kenny said, “This will be the first time in eight years that a bill to legalise cannabis will be before the Dáil. Looking forward to the debate ahead in 2021.”

Kenny is known as a powerhouse in the push for legal medical cannabis in Ireland. Much like the Barney Franks and Maurice Hincheys of the 2000s U.S. House of Representatives, Kenny is a progressive lawmaker who is willing to put his career on the line to help patients. He has been at it long before his peers in the Irish government, who have only recently put value in taking a new look at cannabis.

Cannabis Laws In Ireland

Under current drug laws in Ireland, if your first offense is just possession it can be an expensive slap on the wrist. Courts can choose to hit you with a summary conviction and €2,500 . The next offense gets more expensive and if you have a third, you could face time in jail. And again, this is just possession; intent to distribute is a whole other bag of worms. 

Irish Law Enforcement officials, or Garda Síochána, reported in 2019 that they seized 462,482 grams of cannabis flower valued at €9,249,630. Garda values the roughly 1,018 pounds they seized last year at roughly 9,037 Euro. That’s almost $11,000 USD. They also seized 8,576 cannabis plants, valued at €6,860,800. And finally, for the hash enthusiasts to share in the heartbreak, 46,000 grams of hash were seized with a value of €279,000.

While it’s too tough to get an exact picture of how many people ended up in the Irish criminal justice system in 2019 over cannabis, we do know Garda reported 3732 total incidents they detected the sale of drugs. It’s fair to presume a good chunk, if not most of them, was the most popular illicit drug on the planet. 

While Irish cannabis laws haven’t ruined as many lives as bad pot laws in some other countries, they’re certainly positioned to get caught up with the times. 

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