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Specific NPS Legislation for IRELAND

Specific NPS Legislation
Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act 2010
Shortly after the introduction of the Statutory Instrument 200/2010, the Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act 2010 (PSA) was introduced (in force since August 2010). The PSA was specifically directed at suppliers/vendors and it was an effort to force the closure of head shops. The Act made it a criminal offence to advertise, sell, supply, import or export a psychoactive substance (not otherwise excluded), knowing or being reckless as to whether that substance is being acquired or supplied for human consumption. The Act does not contain any offence for simple possession for personal use of these substances as it is targeted at those involved in trading in NPS. Under the Act a psychoactive substance is defined as a substance that has the capacity to stimulate or depress the central nervous system, resulting in hallucinations, dependence or significant changes to motor function, thinking or behaviour. The 2010 Act does not deal with substances the subject of legitimate trade and focuses exclusively on substances intended for misuse. There are appropriate exemptions for tobacco, alcohol, food and medicines and provision for the further addition of exempted products as deemed appropriate. The law is quite straightforward and one interpretation of section (3)(a) of the PSA is that if the accused gives any indication (e.g.product labelling, website information, verbal communications) that the substance or product offered for sale is psychoactive, then no further proof of pharmacological activity is required. However, if this is not accepted, then the onus is placed on prosecutors to show that such compounds are psychoactive, beyond reasonable doubt, in a criminal prosecution. The Act also gives appropriate powers to An Garda S╬»ochána (Irish Police force) and the Courts to intervene quickly to prevent trade in unregulated psychoactive substances via civil procedures including through the possible use of prohibition and closure orders being placed on trade outlets. In terms of penalties, any person found guilty of an offence under the 2010 Act (other than under section 15) is liable on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €5,000 or for imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both; or on conviction on indictment, to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both.

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