“If a grown adult wants to grow a herb and then smoke it, and there are no negative consequences for other people, then they should be allowed to do that.” Says Ireland’s Minister of Health, Stephen Donnelly
Donnelly, is standing by his past decision to consume cannabis and says he supports legalizing the plant. Reports The Gowth Op
A 2017 interview with Hot Press magazine, where Donnelly says he has consumed cannabis and is open to legalizing it, resurfaced last week.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health told the Irish Sunday Mirror that Donnelly “stands by his interview.”
In the interview, Donnelly, who was appointed Minister of Health last month, said “I’d like to find a way to decriminalise small quantities of weed. If a grown adult wants to grow a herb and then smoke it, and there are no negative consequences for other people, then they should be allowed to do that.”
Donnelly continued that any approach to changing Ireland’s cannabis laws would have to consider the risks posed by youth cannabis consumption and that Ireland would also need to be mindful of becoming a ‘drug tourism’ destination, “which is not something we want here,” Donnelly said.
Ireland has historically held a conservative stance when it comes to cannabis. In 2019, however, the country launched a Medical Cannabis Access Programme, a five-year pilot project that allows doctors to prescribe cannabis to patients only “where conventional treatment has failed.” Hemp and CBD are also legal.
In the same interview, Donnelly voiced support for safe injection centres —“I’d like to see us looking at addiction not as a criminal issue but as a healthcare issue. What are the causes of addiction?” — and said he has tried drugs other than cannabis but would offer no further details.