Legalise Cannabis protest marches through Dublin August 2014


Saturday evening August 23 saw over a 1000 people take part in a demonstration in Dublin demanding the legalisation of Cannabis organised by Legalise Cannabis Ireland. The front banner read ‘Medication - Taxation - Industrialisation - Civil Liberties’ and “We will raise awareness and demand change to Irish legislation for the benefit of every person in Ireland. The time is now to end the hypocrisy’

Legaise Cannabis March at GPO Dublin

The message of the march as expressed by the front banner was very much a demand for capitalism as normal rather than the gangster capitalism of illegality. That’s obviously a very limited demand - indeed it’s already been won or partly won in a number of European countries and more recently states in the USA.

There were a few objections to us announcing that this march was happening on our Facebook page. The ones we took seriously were people pointing out the harm drugs like heroin do. Heroin has had a devastating effect on a number of already marginalised sections of the population, in particular areas of high unemployment and poverty. We've supported mobilisation in some of those areas to try and remove dealers while recognising in other cases such campaigns are simply paramilitaries trying to impose themselves as the local guardians of morality ( for previous articles see )

However prohibition has not helped solve this problem, something that a growing number of organisations and individuals recognise. Instead like the US prohibition of alcohol its created the situation where gangsters can make a fortune out of selling the banned substance (in the US of the 1920’a that was alcohol) and therefore have a vested interest in expanding the market by getting new people addicted.

In addition criminalisation its part of the reason for the huge number of deaths arising from contaminated product and huge variations in purity. Countries like the Netherlands that make it possible for users to get drugs tested see much reduced death rates from accidental overdoes and contamination. Addiction needs to be viewed as a medical issue rather than a criminal one.

Legalisation is hardly our main priority but the effect the war on drugs has had on the lives of millions of people and indeed entire societies is not to be laughed off. Criminalisation has created the conditions for gangsters to run what are some of the largest agricultural and chemical trades by value on the planet and in the course of doing so corrupt entire cities & even countries. The best know current example being the brutality of the drug wars in Northern Mexico where hundreds if not thousands are killed every year and the running of entire cities is in the hands of the mob.

WORDS Andrew Flood (Follow Andrew on Twitter )