Questions Over The Inclusion Of Hemp In The Irish Misuse Of Drugs Act

hempMinister Donnelly accused of breaching EU law in “misguided attack on hemp products”

New regulations from Health Minister Stephen Donnelly have been labelled as an “unlawful and bizarre attempt to justify breaches of EU laws and regulations”.

Under two proposed amendments to Misuse of Drugs legislation, the Minister for Health is attempting to gain licensing control over every aspect of the agricultural hemp industry supply chain.

Gino Kenny TD today said,   “ The impact of these two regulations would be to classify an EU agricultural crop and all products derived from it as drugs in Ireland. Not only does this extraordinary move breach EU law, but it would seem to be a direct reaction to ongoing Irish court proceedings.”

Minister Donnelly claims that treating agricultural hemp as a drug in Ireland is necessary to protect human life and health, however, EU law demands that he must first demonstrate the existence of an actual risk to human health before such legislation could be lawful. ”The Minister’s action flies in the face of EU Court of Justice findings, recent EU Commission’s clarifications, and a recent Irish High Court decision” .

EU law requires that any attempt to treat agricultural hemp as a drug must first be backed by scientific evidence showing the risk to human health. Mr Kenny said ”the CJEU has already found  that in the case of hemp, no evidence of any risk to human health exists according to the available science.

Deputy Kenny said; ”The European Commission had also recently clarified that the association of agricultural hemp with narcotics and drugs was ”wrong and unfair”. 

Mr Kenny noted that the Irish High Court recently found that Irish law also requires the State to first demonstrate, ”taking account of the results of international scientific research, that [such] legislation is necessary in order effectively to protect the interests referred to”. ”The Minister is clearly exceeding his authority here and has produced no scientific evidence to back up this extraordinary move” Deputy Kenny said.