ON THIS day in 2015, the Irish government legalised a multitude of drugs for 24 hours only– completely by accident.

In the same year equal marriage was legalised through popular vote, 2015 was a very progressive year indeed for Ireland—but this was not always done on purpose.

On 10 March 2015, the Irish government accidentally legalised a myriad of drugs including ketamine, ecstasy, crystal meth and magic mushrooms—sparking a desperate, scrambling attempt to rectify the mistake through emergency legislation.

The mistake happened due to a legal loophole which found the 1977 Misuse of Drugs Act to be unconstitutional, and therefore all 125 drugs listed as being prohibited in the Act were legalised.

Despite the government’s best efforts to reverse the accidental decision as quickly as possible, the long list of Class A drugs were legal to buy, possess and consume for 24 hours, resulting in what became known in certain circles as “National Yokes Day”— Yoke being a colloquial term for Ecstasy.

Young people celebrate in a Dublin nightclub on ‘Yokes Day’ in 2015 (Photo: Sarah Meyler)

Ireland’s ravers revelled in the 24-hour free-for-all, and Twitter users had a field day, with the hashtag #Yokegate trending on the media site throughout the day and night.

Bizarrely, the accidental legalisation did not extend to cannabis, meaning possession of the infinitely less dangerous drug was still an arrest-able offense.

It’s now five years since the government’s notorious mistake, and was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence and a lesson to always read the small print.

In 2021, these drugs– Class A and otherwise– are still illegal in Ireland, although some cannabis-based products are allowed when prescribed for medical reasons.