History of CBD and Cannabis In – Ireland
It almost seems as if every time you turn on the news, a new country is legalizing cannabis or at least liberalizing its laws. Across the world, and in the United States, that is happening, with cannabis and CBD policy shifting in a more tolerant direction, one which often matches the overall political culture of its home country.
That gets interesting, particularly when this wave of progressive policy runs into the shores of more culturally conservative places, like Ireland. Ireland does not have a history of progressive politics – remember, this is the country that only legalized divorce in 1995 and gay marriage in 2015.
Perhaps as a result of its relatively conservative culture, Ireland has been behind much of the rest of western Europe when it comes to cannabis laws, moving slower towards medical marijuana use than many of its counterparts and continuing to ban the substance for recreational use. However, there are efforts to move Ireland’s cannabis policy in a more liberal direction.
Legal Status of Cannabis in Ireland
Recreational marijuana remains illegal in Ireland, but the country has liberalized its cannabis laws in other respects.
From a historical perspective, like many other countries, cannabis use became illegal in the 1930s (specifically 1934). Use of marijuana increased in the late 1960s, and that’s when Ireland actually began to move towards decriminalization. In 1971, a government report found that the possession of small amounts of marijuana should not result in imprisonment. Given the time period, this was a relatively progressive stance.
The Irish Police are given wide latitude for arrests and will often just seize the drug and take a person’s name. Those convicted of marijuana possession face escalating fines until their third arrest, at which point jail is possible.
In keeping with the liberalizing times, Ireland first introduced a bill to legalize marijuana in 2013 (the proposed legislation never moved). Bills to fully legalize medical marijuana have passed various stages of the legislative process but never become law. In 2018, full decriminalization was declared to be “under consideration” by the Irish government, which was actively studying the issue and compiling a report.
A form of medical marijuana is legal in Ireland, but not nearly to the same extent as other countries. The country roughly six months into a five year medical marijuana pilot program. A small number of patients are enrolled, and they will be able to get their marijuana from pharmacies like any other drugs. Costs will be picked up by the Irish government.
Legal Status of CBD in Ireland
CBD appears to occupy a legal gray area in Ireland. On one hand, it is for sale in many stores and available for purchase on the internet. On the other hand, other CBD products have been seized by the Irish police in raids, though it is possible that these seizures occurred because the CBD came in edible form, not because it was CBD in and of itself.