Individuals who are caught with marijuana for personal use in Northern Ireland will not be prosecuted or have a criminal record and will instead be dealt with under the adult-caution system, which was established more than a decade ago. However, this only applies to individuals who haven’t been caught repeatedly with personal-use marijuana or people who have not been caught with bigger marijuana shipments.
Among the four new offenses added to the adult-caution scheme include the possession of personal-use cannabis. The objective of this is to free up resources of the court and Garda, the national police force, while dealing with offenders in a more informal setting. This is a pioneer moment given that this will be the first time that an illicit drug’s offense will be dealt with using a prosecution-based process instead of through the conventional criminal justice system.
The purpose of the adult-caution scheme is to eliminate the threat of a criminal record for individuals who are first-time offenders or those who have committed offenses that can be considered as relatively minor. Garda Headquarters, located in Phoenix Park, recently stated that possession of personal-use marijuana had been included in the adult-caution scheme just days ago.
Following an agreement with the director of public prosecutions, a couple of other offenses were included as well, including the breaching the control-of-access-to-certain-events clause found in the Public Order Act. Trespassing in a manner that may give rise to fear or casual trading contrary to one’s license terms or without a license were also added to the caution scheme.
Last year, the minister of health at the time, Simon Harris, announced the state’s plans to add possession of herbal marijuana or marijuana resin to the adult-caution scheme, highlighting that this move would affect nearly 12,000 individuals annually who are caught by the Garda for possession of drugs for personal use. He explained that instead of being processed under the criminal justice system, roughly 10% of these cases would be referred for therapy and further treatment under the new system.
However, in the drug policy report that was released at around the same time, a Garda Síochána declared that they were against multiple adult cautions, arguing that illicit drug users could exploit the new scheme. The Garda observation stated that couriers and drug dealers alike may begin carrying drugs in small quantities, with the knowledge that they are allowed to possess a quantity of drugs for personal use.
Some companies in North America have opted to make products that are fall within the laws governing cannabis. For example, The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (CSE: WTER) (NASDAQ: WTER) has added a collection of CBD-infused edibles and topicals to its line of products.
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