America has proven that patience and dedication can result in legitimate change and legislative reform. Through relentless campaigning they have taken the debate for cannabis legalisation to the polling booth and have, subsequently, succeeded in enacting a law which no other American State has achieved. This exercise of democracy is awe-inspiring to the libertarian thinker.
As the world observes these two States implementing a law that respects the right to users and non-users of cannabis with similar regulation to alcohol, countries from around the globe will begin to question the efficacy of prohibition in their own countries. Ireland is no exception to this. Cannabis use stands at 6% of the Irish population and such high demand creates a lucrative market for criminal entrepreneurs. There is no legal regulatory framework for buyers or sellers of cannabis to work within, which places cannabis in the same illegal market as guns and hard drugs. This inevitably undermines all quality control and safety to consume cannabis, as well as opening up an avenue for violent gangs to operate under which dramatically increases the crime rate.
With the population of 4.8 million people, in comparison to 6.8 million of Washington, we do not face the same challenge to bring about reform. With TD Luke Flanagan set to submit a cannabis legalisation bill in early 2013, and the department of Health beginning to recognise the medicinal benefits of cannabis; we are much closer to change than one might expect. Irish citizens should view the success in the United States as a way to educate our own population and act as a domino effect to law-reform here, drawing a paradigm shift closer.
There has never been a better time to get involved with the drug law-reform campaign, and UCC Drug Awareness & Reform offer the platform for citizens and youth to have their concerns heard. Please consider joining our mailing list and donate any way you can to cause in Ireland.
Graham de Barra