As more and more American states begin the process of legalising marijuana for recreational use, is it time Ireland leads the way in Europe(excluding the Dam) and begins a process to legalise marijuana? In the following paragraphs I will try make a rational case for the legalisation of marijuana.
I came to the decision to write a piece regarding the legalisation of marijuana after I was lying in bed last week pondering the next day’s bills, which included bills for buying marijuana on the black market. I knew I was broke, in fact I owed more out than my weekly income, thus I was in debt the following week and would have to pay missed bills alongside my usual bills which would, as usual, exceed my weekly income, therefore forcing me into debt the following week and creating a circle of debt, stress and so on.
I won’t lie; one of the problems is: I am addicted to marijuana, but I like it, and currently my marijuana consumption accounts for about 40% of my weekly income.
You could say “stop smoking marijuana and you won’t be in debt” and to an extent you’ll be correct. However let me propose a small case for the legalisation of marijuana in Ireland, that would favor weed smokers continuing to enjoy the positive aspects of marijuana, release the poorest of smokers from debt to unpleasant dealers and also help to put huge amounts of revenue back in to the local economy.
In Ireland the price of marijuana on the black market has sky rocketed in the past few years as illegal drug dealers monopolise the Irish marijuana trade and force their own prices on smaller dealers, who have no choice but to increase their prices to the customer. This monopolisation of marijuana on the black market has resulted in a situation where four years ago €50 got you 3.5 grams of marijuana while now in 2014 €50 will only get you 2 grams (if you’re lucky) This alongside police raids, destruction of growing farms (that create droughts) and manipulative dealers has all helped to radically increase the price of marijuana, therefore forcing smokers into spending more money than most earn, resulting in debt and physical threats to the point of suicide.
So what if we legalise marijuana In Ireland? How can this instantly help to tackle such problems?
It’s quite simple actually. By legalising marijuana in Ireland and forcing the weed trade into a legal and regulated practice of recreational-use stores we will help to bring marijuana prices and quality back to a safe and positive level for the consumer, as there will be no more droughts, rogue weed and dealers charging bumped up prices as they try to make as much money as possible.
The marijuana will be grown or bought legally by licensed stores thus creating a continuous flow of marijuana that as a result of been available in bulks, many varieties and under safe conditions will bring the prices down to a level where 3.5 grams is €30, instantly saving the average smoker €45 a week, money they would have been lost buying the same amount of grams illegally. It’s exactly like selling oil, when there’s a safe steady flow of oil on the markets the price of oil goes down.
By saving customers such amounts of money weekly it will help to give them more money to spend in the local economy instead of giving it to the pockets of local and foreign illegal drug barons.
Also as a result of legalisation all stores and business related will be taxed and licensed resulting in potentially huge levels of new revenue to the Irish state, a possible alternative to massive cuts to the public sector. It’s actually the exact same as an Off-License, a legal regulated and licensed trade where there is always a regulated “safe” product and fair-ISH consumer prices, even if some aspects of the alcohol industry are negative in the battle against alcoholism.
I am not the only one to agree on this, as former independent TD and now newly elected Member of the European Parliament Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan is also in agreement that regulation and legalisation could help boost the local economy “Indeed. Through taxation and savings to the judicial system it would definitely boost the economy”.
Luke was also in agreement that one of the benefits the legalisation is taking it out of the hands of the criminal class; “This would be one of the major benefits. Currently criminals have control of a billion euro market. Better to have it within legitimate economy”.
By legalising marijuana in Ireland overnight we could kill off a major aspect of the illegal and vicious drug trade that has been tearing the country apart. Drug dealers around the country will no longer make thousands of pounds weekly selling weed (at times weed laced with a heroin substitute) if the customers can get better, safer and bigger in a legal recreational store.
Plus I thought the government and Gardaí are trying to end the illegal drug trade in this country? If it’s true, then it’s quite counterproductive to oppose ending an aspect of their illegal drug business.
Either way a real debate about the legalisation of marijuana must happen because god knows everyone smokes it, even that right at the top of Irish life. Trust me, if you don’t trust me then trust Ming Flanagan “Some people are highly hypocritical including Rory Quinn and Leo Varadkar who have admitted using in the past but still stand by criminalising others”, he continued “we now have over 100 thousand people with a criminal record for possession. This prevents them from being as active as they could be in society and the economy”.
“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.” – Carl Sagan (Cosmologist, Astronomer, Astrophysicist) 1969, Essay in Marihuana Reconsidered.