In an unexpected and totally accidental experiment with liberalization, Ireland’s Court of Appeal ruled yesterday that possession of Ecstasy, Ketamine, Crystal Meth, and more than 100 other substances is now 100% legal. People wishing to dig out their old trance CDs and glow sticks should be warned however: after 12am on Thursday, these drugs will be made illegal again.
It’s as ridiculous as it sounds, but the reason for this temporary legalization is strictly procedural, reported the Journal yesterday. Put simply, these substances were until now banned under the 1977 Misuse of Drugs Act. As new drugs hit the street since 1977, they were added to this act by Ministerial Order.
These additions to the Act – nine in total since 1977 – were made without a vote in the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament). As such, they were found to be unconstitutional by the court, and subsequently struck out of law.
And so began a social media shitstorm, which culminated in Blindboy, one of Limerick hip-hop/comedy duo The Rubberbandits, appearing on national radio after consuming “a ball of legal yokes”. Blindboy described the whole kerfuffle as “The government doing an absurdist intervention on itself.”
Doubtless fearing a descent of sweaty, gurning, pilled-up revelers onto Ireland’s streets, the government convened an emergency meeting last night to reclassify these drugs as illegal. There’s a catch however: the emergency legislation goes to the Seanad (Senate) today, and won’t come into effect until midnight.
In the meantime, does the whole country now resemble a loved-up 1990s house party?
Not really. The Gardaí (Irish police) will operate business as usual, taking a “co-ordinated and effective approach to protecting our communities, individuals and their families from the harm and pain caused by drug use”, Sergeant Brian Whelan told the Hook.
So that means no love-parade through the streets of Dublin, no hipster pop-up shops selling craft ecstasy and fairtrade methamphetamine, and most likely no serious debate on drug policy reform.
“Anomaly that exposes massive incompetence in our system but also calls into question the rationale of drug laws themselves”
While speaking on Newstalk FM last night, Blindboy of the Rubberbandits called the situation a “legislative anomaly which not only exposes massive incompetence in our system but also calls into question the rationale of drug laws themselves.”
“We need to move towards a conversation about mental health. I’m not into telling adults what to do – but any time you get a pang in your body for any substance, you have the opportunity to ask yourself, Why do I want this substance right now?… At the core of all of this we’ve got a mental health discussion. It’s hard to have rational mental health, when the drug laws themselves are irrational,” he said.
With Ireland once again an international laughing stock, one twitter user neatly summed up the level of debate in Irish politics this week: