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Ireland: 'Cannabis social clubs would be a major win for parents': Push for legalisation continues
The Journal, Ireland
Monday 14 Nov 2016
WELCOME TO THE Wexford Cannabis Club – a place for those who believe in the recreational legalisation of the drug in Ireland.
Far from being a safe-haven for those who wish to flout the country’s strict drug laws, the club is for those wanting to make medicinal and recreational use of cannabis safer and legal.
Simon Fergus is one of its founding members.
He, along with a number of similar-thinking people, are activists for change, wanting the Government to loosen what they described as short-sighted drug laws.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie, he said: “Well, the club in Wexford is more of an advocacy group for cannabis law-reform unlike the cannabis social clubs in the UK which are actively providing medicines to people with serious conditions.
“Most people involved with the Wexford club would be fighting for medical cannabis law reform for themselves or, as in my case, for a family member but we all believe that it is much safer for children and teenagers if cannabis for personal was dealt with through a cannabis social club model rather than through criminalisation and prohibition.”
Under the club’s proposals, it would be legal to consume cannabis within the confines of the club, similar to countries like Canada, the Netherlands and parts of Spain.
The Cannabis Club in Wexford and the campaign for medicinal marijuana to be legalised are two separate campaigns in existence in the south-east.
Health Minister Simon Harris has asked the Health Products Regulatory Authority to get expert advice on medicinal cannabis.
While he said he was not planning on total decriminalisation, he wanted to review the potential medical benefits of cannabis for treating particular illnesses and chronic pain.
However, it is the criminal aspect which Fergus believes these new laws have the power to change.
In his opinion, the proposals would remove the criminal link from cannabis and would also make its consumption safer.
He added: “We believe that the criminal market for cannabis is too dangerous and isolates vulnerable young people and helps them develop and sustain problematic drug use and reduces the likelihood of addressing drug their drug habit effectively.
“We believe that cannabis social clubs would be a major win for parents, young people, the guards and society as a whole and we believe that these clubs would greatly reduce the teenage cannabis culture that is currently widespread throughout the country.
These clubs would also provide a broader spectrum of different cannabis strains unlike the criminal market which usually provides very high THC strains which can leave many people quite anxious.
“Cannabis prohibition also gives teenagers the opportunity to sell cannabis themselves which is of course another enormous headache for parents, the clubs would also greatly reduce the likelihood of this too.”
In Ireland, you can be fined up to €1,300 if you are first-time offender caught with cannabis for personal use.
For a second offence, a fine of €2,540 can be imposed. and for a third or subsequent conviction, a higher fine and a prison sentence of not more than 12 months can be imposed as well.
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