Ecstasy and crystal meth illegal again; hundreds of drugs cases may be dropped

Ecstasy and crystal meth illegal again; hundreds of drugs cases may be dropped

The ban on drugs including ecstasy and crystal meth is back in force, after an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act was passed in record time.

President Michael D Higgins signed the emergency legislation yesterday evening, which brought the new law into effect at midnight. It was passed through both houses of the Oireachtas earlier.

The ban on more than 200 drugs, including ecstacy, ketamine, crystal meth and other psychoactive drugs was overturned on Tuesday, when the Court of Appeal struck down part of the law as unconstitutional.

The Court of Appeal ruled that a variety of drugs, such as ecstasy and new synthetic drugs, were not illegal as the mechanism used to declare them controlled substances was unconstitutional.

The challenge to the law was based on whether a Minister, through Ministerial order, could ban certain drugs. The High Court determined that could not in fact be done without primary legislataion.

"Sometimes the basis for legislation gets challenged, and sometimes those challenges are successful," said Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

Legal experts pointed out that new laws cannot be applied retrospectively to cases of drugs supply currently going through the criminal justice system. The Irish Examiner reports today that hundreds of cases involving the sale of certain drugs are now set to be dropped.

Senior sources told the Irish Examiner the DPP has told gardaí that files submitted to it regarding the sale of these particular substances will be dropped and cases in the courts will be withdrawn.


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