Tens of thousands of people use cannabis. Even consuming or possessing a relatively small amount, people can get a criminal record. There is no more reason for cannabis to be illegal than there is alcohol.
Instead, there is a continued targeting by police of people who are cannabis consumers, cultivators, suppliers or sellers of any CBD or THC products.
This is a total waste of time. Police time and public money should be better spent elsewhere.
People Before Profit are totally opposed to the criminalisation of cannabis consumers. We believe that prohibition should end, and that proper research should be undertaken by agencies that are independent of corporate influence into the benefits of regulation.
Prohibition has meant that cannabis is more likely to be mixed with more harmful substances which can have detrimental effects. If it were legalised, researched, and properly regulated there would be far less likelihood of harm.
Criminal records of cannabis consumers should therefore be wiped clean so that people can get on with their lives and careers.
Other countries have begun to legalise cannabis. Ireland should follow their example and implement regulation immediately.
In Malta, for example, possession of up to seven grams of cannabis is legal for those aged 18 and above, and it is permissible to grow a number of plants at home, and to have a related amount of dried product stored.
Once legalised cannabis should be sold in regulated settings. The focus should be on limiting sale for profit, through regulated social clubs and designated public outlets.
Limiting the sale of cannabis for profit will make the market less attractive to gangs and big tobacco corporations who see cannabis as a lucrative industry.
This year People Before Profit will introduce a bill to regulate cannabis. We hope to start a meaningful debate which can lead to the end of cannabis prohibition.