Based on the findings of these reports, the court may decide not to impose a fine or prison sentence on you. Instead, you may be placed under the supervision of a named person or body (such as the HSE) for a specified period of time or you may be required to get the kind of treatment (medical or otherwise) that has been recommended for you. The court may also order that you complete a course of education, instruction or training that will improve your job prospects or social circumstances, facilitate your social rehabilitation or reduce the likelihood of you committing further drugs offences.
It is an offence to be in possession of a controlled drug and on summary conviction for this offence, you could be liable for a class C fine or a prison sentence of up to 12 months. If the court decides, you could be liable for both. On conviction on indictment for possessing controlled drugs, the court can decide on an appropriate fine and you could also be liable for a prison sentence of up to 7 years. Again, if the court decides, you could be liable for both.
The Misuse of Drugs Regulations list the different substances that the legislation applies to. The Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act 2010 also covers substances which are not specifically banned under the Misuse of Drugs Acts, but which have psychoactive effects.
Where the market value of the drugs is €13,000 or more, the person convicted is liable for a minimum sentence of 10 years. However, this does not apply, if the court is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances. Similar penalties apply to someone convicted of importing drugs with a value of €13,000 or more.
Attempting or helping others to commit an offence
It is an offence:
The Garda Síochána has a number of units and initiatives aimed at combating drug abuse and drug trafficking internationally and locally. These include:
It is an offence to forge a prescription or to try to change it in any way in order to deceive. Anyone found guilty of this offence is liable, on summary conviction, to a class D fine or a prison sentence not exceeding 6 months. If the court decides, you could be liable for both. On conviction on indictment for this offence, the court can decide on an appropriate fine, or impose a prison term not exceeding 14 years, or both.
Possession of controlled drugs – cannabis or cannabis resin
Depending on the circumstances of your case, the court may order that you be detained in a specialised custodial treatment centre. The period you can be held for depends on your offence. You cannot be held for longer than a year. However, if the maximum period of imprisonment that the court can impose for your crime is shorter than a year, you can only be held for that period of time.
If the court decides it is in your best interests, you may not be allowed to see the contents of any report that has been prepared on your case. However, the report will be made available to your barrister or solicitor.
Jones, of Maughanaclea, Kealkil, Bantry, couldn’t resist telling Cork Circuit Criminal Court that she would have no problem having gardaí come and carry out follow-up checks in her house provided they didn’t bring in mud on their shoes.
Judge Patrick Moran heard that Glaswegian Joseph Stevenson — the son of a retired policeman — had turned a five-bed house in Skibbereen into an elaborately laid-out cannabis factory for producing “cut-price weed”.
At around the same time, they raided another cannabis growhouse in Co Laois and a second one which was under construction in Co Kildare.
Snipe the sniffer dog was used again in December when he honed in on a €250,000 cannabis haul near Kilbrin in north-west Cork.
Last April, gardaí attending a traffic accident in North Cork made an unexpected discovery near the scene.
However, while there is no doubt that criminals are getting involved in the practice on a larger scale, there is also believed to be a significant increase in the ordinary punter growing their own.
“If a tenant becomes over-protective of their rented property and won’t let a landlord in to inspect it, then suspicions should be aroused. Landlords should watch out for any structural changes that a tenant might make, which could indicate they might be growing cannabis.