DUBLIN, Ireland, March 10 (UPI) -- The Irish legislature is working to quickly pass a bill to close a loophole that legalized drugs including ecstasy, magic mushrooms and ketamine.
Ireland's Department of Health confirmed Tuesday a ruling by the Irish Court of Appeal struck down the 1977 Misuse of Drugs Act, which outlawed substances including ecstasy, magic mushrooms and ketamine.
"All substances controlled by means of Government Orders made under section 2(2) cease to be controlled with immediate effect, and their possession ceases to be an offense," the department said in a statement. "These include ecstasy, benzodiazepines and new psychoactive substances, so-called 'headshop drugs.'"
Officials said older drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin, remained illegal under previous laws Tuesday.
The department said officials were prepared for the possibility of the decision and are working to get a replacement law passed in the legislature within the next 24 hours. However, any new law would not take effect until midnight Thursday, effectively opening a 48-hour window of legalized drug use.
"We had no way of knowing what the court would decide today, but we prepared for this possibility," Minister for Health Leo Varadkar told the Irish Examiner. "Legislation was prepared and approved in advance by Cabinet. The emergency legislation I am introducing today will re-instate the status quo ante and re-control all drugs that were controlled prior to this judgment."
Varadkar said the ruling, which dubbed the law unconstitutional, calls "dozens" of convictions into question.
"I'm told it's dozens, but I can't say for certain because what they'll have to do now is go thought each individual case and see if the people ion question were charged just under this section of the act, or if they were charged with other acts as well," he said.