Provincial papers often provide fodder for magazine sections like The Phoenix’s Bog Cuttings.
Apart from the reports of Nazi saluting drunks, men watering their horses and glass bottle fights; one thing that always stuns this rabbler is the court reports around drugs in his home town.
Last Sunday Jim Cusak, a Sindo journalist published an article saying the state has lost the war on drugs. This was apparently based on the opinion of retired experienced cops.
The debate over legalising Class B or “soft” drugs such as cannabis has not progressed since the Seventies when the drug first came into widespread use in Ireland. Gardai say that since cannabis began arriving in significant amounts in the Sixties and harder drugs like heroin and cocaine appeared in the Seventies and Eighties, they have lost the war against drugs. One garda asked the same question which Mr Flanagan, TD and self-confessed user, has been asking: “What’s the point of us busting people for grass? Couldn’t we legalise it and tax it?”
Nearly 18,000 people were arrested for drugs offences last year, 13,000 for possession of drugs for personal use. In 2004, just under 10,000 people were arrested, 7,000 for possession for personal use, the majority of those, gardai say, for cannabis.
Not the sort of stuff you’d usually expect to hear a serial fantasist like Jim Cusak reporting. Check out his report on the raging drug fueled EDM scenes at the Swedish House Mafia here and how he plays the role of a useful fool for the Gardai on the rape tape thing here.
He’s definitely onto something when it comes to weed though and the wasted resources involved in prosecuting people. Let’s take a peak through a recent Carlow Nationalist. On the 7th of November, according to a front page report a grow house was busted with a haul of 250k worth of plants, there was the usual mix of other drugs caught as part of the haul too. Okay, a fair enough headline for a small town where Scarface posters sell in their truck load.
But now skip forward to page 12 of the November 13th edition and this hits you.
€5 Worth of Cannabis lands man in court.
In another story, where the subtext sounds like a judge itching to convict on a more serious note – and an Inspector talking him down we find this.
Carlow Mans cannabis plants were for his own personal use, judge told.
Inspector Martin Walker said that the plants were “very young” when they were discovered and the gardai were “happy” that they were for Doyle’s personal use.
“They were pot plants in every way” defending solicitor Micheal Lanigan explained to Judge Eamon O’Brien. “They were barely germinated,” he added, noting that the plants were “more like beansprouts.”
Looking at the photo of the plants, Judge O’Brien observed that they “looked healthy” and could have been “organically grown”. He then speculated what the premium for such an organic product would be, but Mr Lanigan was quick to point out that it would only be possible to find that out if the cannabis “went to market.”
Twenty five year old Doyle was then sentence to nine months imprisonment, which was suspended for two years. He was also ordered to be on good behaviour during that time.
Right, so that Judge clearly knows his High Times cultivation pages as much as his Superquinn organics sausage range Meanwhile in the real world, far away from our little collection of bogs – legalising and regulating has led to some, ahem, green economic shoots in Colorado. Check out NPR‘s Fresh Air… Legalizing And Regulating Pot for some clearer thinking on this whole thing.
We’re interested in hearing people’s experience of the same. What ludicrous drug busts have you come across?