Ireland: Test action challenging ban on products containing THC opens

The Journal reports

AN IMPORTANT TEST action challenging Ireland’s outright ban on the sale of any products containing the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis, has opened before the High Court.

The action against has been brought by Andrius Rogusas of Crowe Street, Dundalk, who on 21 October 2020 last had goods, namely oils that he imported from Slovenia, seized by Customs on the basis they were prohibited by national legislation.

He claims that because the goods were legally made in another EU country and contained less than 0.2% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive constituent of cannabis, they do not constitute narcotic drugs.

Rogusas, who is represented by Derek Shortall SC, Stephen Faulkner Bl, instructed by solicitor Niall Breen, claims that Ireland’s 1977 Misuse of Drugs Act, contains an outright ban on all products containing any amount THC is contrary to EU laws concerning the free movement of goods.

He claims that a decision of the Courts of Justice of the European Union allows products with less than 0.2% THC to be manufactured and sold within the EU, and that such products cannot be completely banned.

He claims that the products, including ones containing THC, can only be banned on public health grounds on the basis of up-to-date scientific data and assessments of said products.

The claims are denied, and the court was told that the State respondent’s position is that THC is a controlled drug, which it is fully entitled to prohibit.

The businessman has brought judicial review proceedings are against the Minister for Health, Minister for Finance and the Attorney General, and the Revenue Commissioners.

His action is one of several similar challenges brought before the courts where the State’s ban on products containing THC have been raised.

In his action the businessman seeks a declaration from the court that the absolute prohibition of all products containing any level of THC as contained in the 1977 Misue of Drugs Act has not been determined in compliance with EU law.

He also wants the declaration to say that State has failed to carry out the necessary assessments taking in account of the results of international scientific research to determine if the legislation is necessary.



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