I’VE smoked a few cannabis joints in my time. And I know a lot of people who have smoked cannabis.
None of them appeared to be under coercion to smoke dope. None of them seemed addicted. None of them were violent. None of them were anti-social.
Now, looking back, the cannabis that we enjoyed must have come from somewhere. Someone must have taken a risk so that we could choose to smoke a bit of blow. In Ireland (and here my eyes drift heavenwards) these people are called ‘drug pushers’.
I haven’t got the actual figures (nobody has) but the vast, vast, vast bulk of cannabis sold in Ireland isn’t pushed on anyone. People choose to smoke cannabis. They aren’t abusing cannabis, they are using it exactly as they wish to use it.
Martin O’Connor from Navan has just been sentenced to 20 years in jail for trading in cannabis, the last two years suspended. He had over e1 million of cannabis resin in his possession.
This sentence, and there have been many more like it, amounts to persecution. 20 years in jail for trading in cannabis, regardless of the quantity, is completely disproportionate and oppressive.
No evidence was reported that O’Connor forced anyone to smoke cannabis. He wasn’t convicted of violence. I feel that this man has been treated utterly unjustly.
Our prisons are filling up with cannabis traders, from South African mothers to local youngsters. The vindictive puritanism that has brought this situation about (the same streak of lifestyle fascism that brought about the smoking ban) is contemptible.
But why have cannabis users been so silent about it?
According to the recently released National Advisory Committee on Drugs survey some 25% of people in the 15-64 age bracket in the greater Dublin area have smoked cannabis at some point in their lives.
What I want to know from these people is this: do you think the person who supplied you with the cannabis you smoked should spend 18 years of their life in jail?
No? Well what are you going to do about it?
This ruthless persecution of drug use is going to go on unless the minority of people in Ireland who have a different perspective on drug use start making their voices heard.
While you sit enjoying your joint people are rotting in jail.
Let’s go Iranian
The idiots who advocate drug prohibition will argue that the reason it doesn’t work is that we’re not strict enough.
Is that so?
In 1999, for example, 233 drug traffickers were hung in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In 2001 the police and army killed 1,083 drug dealers in armed clashes. There is widespread torture of suspects and extra-judicial killings. Having 100g of heroin carries the death penalty and around 15,000 are sentenced to death each year.
Iran (pop 66m) has 2 million heroin addicts