Oireachtas committee to consider drugs report

Oireachtas committee to consider drugs report

A special Oireachtas committee will be established by April to consider the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

The assembly published its final report in January, setting out 36 recommendations for a new Irish model to reduce the harm caused by illicit drugs use, including decriminalising the possession of drugs for personal use.

The report will now be considered by a new Oireachtas committee formed of 14 members, both Senators and TDs, with a chairperson nominated by the independent members.

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil the committee “is being given seven months to carry out its work and produce a report — but it does not have to take seven months”.

“It was pointed out to me by my staff who were involved in the citizens’ assembly and by the chairman, Paul Reid, that because all of the different interest groups and experts appeared before the assembly, it is not necessarily the case that the special committee should have to do that all over again,” he said.

“Ultimately, it is going to be a decision for the members and the chair as to whether they want to have everyone come in again or whether they would be happy enough to get it done in one day. That is their call, not ours.”

A private member’s bill proposing to decriminalise the possession of up to seven grams of cannabis is currently before the Dáil, but has been postponed to give the Oireachtas time to consider the Citizens’ Assembly report.

The Misuse of Drugs (Cannabis Regulation) Bill 2022, proposed by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny, came up for second stage on 31 January 2024, where the government won its timed amendment by 74-56.

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