Before I get branded as a tree hugging hippy or a stoner, I am not. I simply think that it is about time this topic was raised so as to allow proper debate on it.
Cannabis, as we all know, is a naturally occuring drug. It is far less harmful then alcohol or tobacco, proved by the fact that there has never been a cannabis related death recorded anywhere in the world. If cannabis were to be legalised there would be a huge amount of revenue generated for the economy, not to mention the taxes which could be made. It has been estimated that approximately a quarter of the Irish population have smoked cannabis at some stage in their lifetime with approx 5% smoking it on a regualr basis.
If we make the assumption that each regular user smokes half an oz. a week, priced at about €50, and based on the figure of 5% of the population (roughly 200,000 people), we are talking €10,000,000 a week in revenue from the sale of cannabis. If it were to be legalised, and taxed at about 20%, it works out at a tax revenue of €2,000,000. And remeber that is only regular users, if we were to do more elborate calculations including occassional users the figure woud naturally rise.
Even if we are to step away from the economics of legalisation and look at the positive effects of legalisation there are benefits to be seen. Firstly, with legalistation and strict controls on imports, the industry would be taken out of the hands of low-life crimnals who make a fortune from it at the moment. Secondly, it would also offer a less harmful alternative than alcohol or tobacco. Compared with the agression and violence which can often be seen on Dublin's street relating to alcohol, I have never heard of cannabis fueled violence and would be very surprised if anyone can offer any evidence suggesting otherwise. I cannot find any figures for the amount of money spent treating alcohol related illnesses and injuries in A&E's but as cannabis is non-toxic it cannot be said to account for any A&E admissions, nor have any been reported.
Here is a link to NORML, a group based in America who are trying to reform marijuana laws both there and across the Westen world:
So, what are your views on the topic of legalisation?