Cannabis penalty eased
Anyone caught by gardaí with so-called 'simple possession' of cannabis for personal will from now not automatically be prosecuted.
Instead, people will be issued with an adult caution by gardaí for first offences only. The easing of penalty only applies to people caught with the drugs for personal use.
It is one of a number of four additions to the Adult Cautioning Scheme was introduced to An Garda Síochána in 2006 which have been approved by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Another change involves offences committed around concerts and other events under the public order act.
Gardaí say they have collaborated with the Director of Public Prosecutions and an expansion of the Adult Cautioning Scheme to include four additional offences has now been approved:
1. Offences contrary to Section 13 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 (Trespass in a manner likely to cause fear).
2. Offences under Section 21 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 (Control of access to certain events).
3. Offences under Section 3 of the Casual Trading Act 1995 (Casual trading without a licence or contrary to the terms of the licence).
4. Offences under Section 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977/84 (Simple possession). This will relate to the possession of cannabis and cannabis resin only. No other controlled drugs are permitted under the Adult Cautioning Scheme.
An Adult Caution for any of these four offences can only be considered in respect of an offence committed on or after the 14th December 2020 and cannot be applied retrospectively.
Gardaí say they will continue to work closely with the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to all elements of the Adult Cautioning Scheme.
Gardaí say the Adult Caution Scheme is alternative to the prosecution of certain persons against whom there is evidence of the commission of a scheduled criminal offence but where the prosecution of such offence is not required in the public interest. It is primarily utilised to deal with minor offences committed by first-time offenders.