Every argument I’ve had with a non-cannabis user has always somehow managed to stay clear of the social implications of legalisation. Or de-criminalisation. But, what if Cannabis was to be legalized? Would there be a sudden stampede towards newly opened Cannabis cafes? Or would the only customers be the already 40,000 regular users in this country? I’m sure when it was de-criminalized in Holland people just carried on about their daily business. But then, that’s just the Dutch themselves. So, let us pretend that cannabis is now being sold over the counter. What next? Well, for starters, it would certainly make it harder for children to obtain. In a recent news article I read that 2/5 girls aged 14+ have tried cannabis at least once. Now, had we legalization, those girls would not have been able to obtain it unless they had very irresponsible siblings or friends. It’s the same with tobacco and alcohol. When I was in Leaving Cert, first year students would ask me to buy them cigarettes or alcohol at lunch or on days I met them outside of school. I never did. Children as young as thirteen looking for cigarettes and alcohol. The first rule of setting up a business is to know if there is a market for the product. With cannabis and young people, yes, yes there is. And most dealers will sell it to them without a care. Which brings me onto my second point. The dreaded dealer. Yes, this week our loveable and cuddly Tanaiste and Minister for Justice has decided to rush a new piece of legislation through the Dail which specialises in the further punishment of people convicted of sale or supply. As far as I can tell it’s just another ploy to re-elect the current government. Also, one piece caught my mind, “Ability to detain if found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia.”. This worries me a lot. Does this mean I will be subject to arrest for being in possession of a packet of rolling papers? or worse, my grandmother being arrested because of her hookah? But, I’m going of on a tangent here. So anyway, the dealer himself. It now seems that everyday there is some gang land shooting reported. The young plumber who was caught in the line of fire a while back caused huge uproar. So, what Mike McD did was order his Storm Troopers to target drugs USERS and not the people who were responsible for his death. Again, business comes into it. In my home town there was a Super Value that for years kept competitors out. But when Lidl came it realised it couldn’t. Lidl offered the best prices and, I felt, higher quality goods. I love that ice cream... Dealers are Supervalu and cafes are Lidl. So, if everybody goes to Lidl, then Supervalue goes out of business. I refer you to Gresham’s law for elaboration. And on to point three, the health of the user. The majority of cannabis and hash we get in this country is of abysmal quality. The importers will mix it with various products to increase size, enhance effect and cover their ass for the last two points. Diesel is added to hash to cause it to swell. Yum! And, lately there has been a lot of talk about glass in weed. This is put in to increase weight of the bud without it being noticed. If we had specially designed gardens where supplies could be grown then this wouldn’t be an issue. But hey, what does the government care if a bunch of crazed pot addicts want to go around smoking contaminated weed. It’s not like they contribute to anything to society Wrong! The people who invented the internet used drugs, as did most of the great writers of the Enlightenment, great actors, poets, directors, artists and even business people have used. Many stoners contribute to society. They often donate to charity and volunteer for various things. In fact this morning I gave an old woman a lift to the hospital because it was cold outside. We hold down jobs, have stable relationships with lovers and friends and family. We entertain. Bob Dylan smokes cannabis and he has the highest (no pun intended) moral standards I have heard of. And now, what I’ve been looking forward to, the financing. On average, 3.5 grams of cannabis will cost upwards of forty euro. An ounce will cost about three hundred and twenty. Why has the government not recognised the earning potential? If the government took control of the production of cannabis and sold it at perhaps, twenty five euro an 1/8 then it would be able to retain 40% of that in taxes and profit. That’d be about four hundred thousand a week, that’s 21,600,000 euro a year. Provided they closed for 3 weeks of the year. So, hopefully Bertie will read this and come to his senses. Only together, as a community, will we be able to make a difference. Which is why I’m also going to encourage you all to stand up and shout “I’m stoned! And proud!”. And besides. If the arrested all of us, forty thousand, the only way they could pay to try, punish and keep us in check would be to legalize drugs. So it’s a good bet they won’t.