“Drug purge” in Ireland calls for drug law reform

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Cartoon by Michelle Bau

Ireland’s accidental legalization of possession of certain Class A drugs for 24 hours on Tuesday opens the discussion on the legality of drugs and government once again.

On Tuesday, the Irish Court of Appeals found the 1977 Misuse of Drugs Act unconstitutional, since it never passed through Parliament, allowing the possession of ecstasy, ketamine, benzodiazepines and psychedelics to be legal, but was immediately followed by an emergency bill to declare them illegal again. In Irish law, however, emergency bills come with a provision that only makes them effective a day after the bill is signed, according to The Independent, making the possession of drugs legal for 24 hours.

“Drugs shouldn’t be legal because there are a lot of harmful side effects,” senior Allyson Castillo said. “But if there was a way to regulate it, there would be a lot less harm associated with drugs.”

Ireland’s loophole adds conflict to the war on drugs in America. With Republican Kentucky state Sen. Rand Paul advocation to end the ban on medical marijuana announced the same day, according to the Washington Times, it is clear that legislation needs to catch up.

“Recreational use of drugs can be dangerous,” senior Mason Keiser said. “It’s a slippery slope.”

The Netherlands is notorious for what some consider a “slippery slope” drug policy, since cannabis is legal there. Drug use and the legalization of it are separate issues, and the Dutch government “acknowledges that [they] can not stop people from using drugs,” but their policies “let them focus on actual criminals,” according to Holland.com.

According to Nation Master, a website that analyzes crime in countries based on United Nations data, the Netherlands is ranked thirteenth in total crimes where the United States is ranked first. The United States is also 73 times more violent in regards to murder compared to the Netherlands.

The legalization of some drugs in America could improve the country’s crime rates and update previous stigmas.