The law in Ireland

dublin-four-courts Misuse of Drugs Act 1977  

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 is the main law regulating controlled drugs in Ireland. It controls the cultivation, licensing, possession, administration, supply, record-keeping, prescription-writing, destruction and safe custody of scheduled substances. It also establishes the offences and penalties.

Drug use in itself is not generally a crime under Irish law but possession of a controlled drug, without due authorisation, is an offence under Section 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977. The legislation makes a distinction between possession for personal use and possession for sale or supply. With regard to offences for possession for personal use, the legislation imposes more lenient sentences for cannabis-related offences than for other substances.

  •  Possession of cannabis or cannabis resin for personal use is punishable by a fine on first and second conviction. A third and all subsequent offences incur a fine and/or a term of imprisonment for up to one year on summary conviction (i.e. of a minor offence charged by way of a summons and heard in a lower (District) court), or alternatively, a fine and/or imprisonment for up to three years for conviction on indictment (i.e. a more serious offence for which a formal charge is brought and the case is referred to the criminal courts, where the defendant may opt for a jury trial). 
  •  Possession of all other controlled substances incurs a penalty of a fine and/or imprisonment for up to one year on summary conviction, and imprisonment for up to seven years for conviction on indictment.
  •  Possession for the purpose of sale or supply incurs penalties ranging from imprisonment for up to one year and/or a fine on summary conviction, or up to imprisonment for life and or/an unlimited fine on conviction on indictment.

report icon The Misuse of Drugs Act 1977