We’re going to have a look into marijuana in Ireland. Is it legal on the Emerald Isle? The answer might not be as simple as you think.
Every country has different laws when it comes to marijuana. Whether it’s legal recreationally or medically, legal to purchase and distribute, legal to cultivate, or the opposite, downright illegal.
Ireland falls behind the rest of the EU when it comes to laws relating to cannabis. So, let’s take a look at the ins and outs to find out, is weed legal in Ireland?
Is weed legal in Ireland? – not as simple as you might think
When it comes to the recreational use of cannabis in Ireland, it’s illegal. In Ireland, it’s an offence to cultivate, import, export, produce, supply, and possess cannabis.
There are certain exceptions to the rule. One is in accordance with Ministerial approval. This is where the Department of Health in Ireland has the power to grant a license to an Irish-registered medical practitioner to use products containing THC to treat certain patients.
Patients obtaining medical cannabis under Ministerial approval can have their products reimbursed by the government. Currently, only 63 patients in Ireland access medicines via Ministerial approval.
Furthermore, the Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP) has been operational since July 2021. In this programme, patients can be registered by a specialist physician to access certain cannabis-based products for a small number of conditions.
Despite these moves, access to cannabis for medical purposes in Ireland still lags far behind other countries in Europe.
CBD – the ins and outs
The question, “Is weed legal in Ireland or not?” isn’t quite as simple as you might have thought.
Studies have shown that there are many health benefits of CBD. CBD is a chemical found in marijuana. However, it doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), basically the stuff that gets you stoned.
CBD has been shown to offset anxiety and depression and reduce PTSD symptoms. Patients also use cannabis for pain management and to treat select epilepsy syndromes, chronic conditions, and many more ailments and maladies.
In Ireland, CBD derived from hemp is legal. However, Ireland does not recognise the health benefits of CBD. In turn, it isn’t sold as a medical product, but it is sold as a food supplement.
It’s legal to buy CBD products that contain less than 0.2% THC and are made from hemp extracts. CBD is not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation and therefore doesn’t require the Ministerial Licence that certain cannabis products as treatments do.
Countries where weed is legal – different rules for different countries
Cannabis legalisation has come about all over the world sporadically in recent years. Uruguay became the first country to legalise personal use of cannabis in 2013, followed by Canada in 2018.
In Canada and Uruguay, an adult can purchase cannabis seeds and grow a cannabis plant in their own homes with no issues. It is also legal to distribute cannabis with a license to do so.
Mexico was en route to legalising the personal possession, private use, and home cultivation of marijuana when, in 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that the country’s ban on cannabis was unconstitutional.
However, the lack of progress in enacting laws since then has meant the Supreme Court has since been able to strike down on several laws pertaining to recreational cannabis.
In 2018, the highest court in South Africa ruled that the use, possession, and cultivation of cannabis is legal for adults over the age of 18 for personal consumption.
Limits and use of cannabis for medical purposes – differences in laws
While in countries like Canada, there is a four-plant maximum on home cultivation, South Africa has no limit. However, you are only supposed to grow as much as you can personally use yourself.
Medical marijuana is legal in several countries. In the USA, medical marijuana is legal in 37 states. However, medicinal cannabis laws and laws surrounding cannabis can differ from state to state in the US.
Cannabis remains illegal at a federal level in the United States. However, individual states have made various levels of legalisation.
Despite strict drug laws, medicinal cannabis was made legal in Thailand in 2018. Plus, as of 2021, it is legal to cultivate it at home, strictly as a means of income. All cannabis produced must be sent to a medical facility.
In recent years, most European countries have legalised medicinal marijuana. Malta became the first country in the EU to legalise recreational cannabis for personal use in December 2021.
Contrary to popular belief, weed is actually illegal in the Netherlands. One of the biggest misconceptions is that weed is legal there due to the cannabis industry regarding tourism in Amsterdam in particular. However, it has been decriminalised for personal use there.
Will weed be legal in Ireland anytime soon? – what is the situation in Ireland?
The Irish Government has no plans to legalise weed anytime soon. Now, and for the foreseeable future, the cultivation, distribution, and possession of cannabis remains illegal.
The use and consumption of cannabis happen across Ireland regardless of the law. This is the stance the Green Party takes on the matter.
The Green Party has been known to call for the decriminalisation of the drug, as well as Amsterdam-Style ‘Cannabis Cafes’ in Ireland. The party believes that the laws surrounding cannabis are “making criminals” out of decent people.
Also, a bill to end the decriminalisation of cannabis is set to be introduced to the Daíl this year by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny.
In turn, as certain political parties are staunchly against the decriminalisation of marijuana in Ireland, while others recognise that the user will go ahead regardless, it seems it will be a long time yet until cannabis is decriminalised on the Emerald Isle.
Penalty: Cannabis is illegal all over the island of Ireland. In Northern Ireland, the maximum penalty for possession is five years imprisonment. However, in the south, you could be liable for a prison sentence of up to 12 months.
FAQs about is weed legal in Ireland
Can you grow cannabis in Ireland?
No. Under no circumstances is it legal to cultivate cannabis in Ireland. To date, medical marijuana products are not cultivated on Irish soil.
Is CBD legal in Ireland?
CBD is legal in Ireland when it derives from the hemp plant.
Can cannabis seeds be sent to Ireland?
It’s legal to purchase and sell cannabis seeds in Ireland. You can also legally receive them from other countries. However, using them to grow marijuana plants is illegal.