Pubdate: Wed, 30 Mar 2005
Source: Irish Post, The (UK)
Contact:  Irish Post, 2005
Author: P.W. Kelly
Bookmark: (Cannabis - United Kingdom)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


READING accounts of drug-related crime in the Republic is saddening.
In the 30s and 40s, people didn't have much money, crime was low and
people were reasonably happy.

In this age of plenty, however, the crime rate keeps getting worse --
and the increases are mostly down to drugs.

Apparently there is a very lucrative drug trade in all of Ireland's
towns and most of the countryside. What is the cause? People want to
try something to heighten sensations and for relaxation. Youngsters
say: "All the film and rock stars take drugs all the time."

All the universities and most of the schools have been hit by the drug

Some years ago, a survey stated that one in three under the age of 16
had tried drugs. It may be higher now.

Older people bemoan the fact but feel impotent to do anything about
it. Top dealers make huge untaxed profits. Middlemen make a good
living. The bottom rung -- street dealers of whom many are in receipt
of state benefits -- sometimes get caught.

Released prisoners say that drugs on the inside are more plentiful and
cheaper than outside -- it keeps everyone quiet, they say.

Legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco are taxed heavily and bring the
government large sums. If cannabis, the most widely used soft drug,
were legalised in a controlled manner like in The Netherlands, there
would not be many more users than at present.

The government would take the profit -- not the gangsters who now
control the trade (in some ways reminiscent of the American
prohibition years).

A well co-ordinated and effective antihard drugs clampdown would put
the top dealers out of business. A change in the law might be
necessary to strip all assets and money from top dealers.

No doubt lawyers would whinge about an infringement of human rights,
their fees being uppermost in their minds. But it is those who are
traumatised by burglars and muggers whose human rights are being
infringed -- being robbed so addicts can pay drug debts to gangsters.

The legalisation of cannabis would require a very courageous step by
government and a determined effort by police to freeze dealers out of
the market.

No sale, no profit. It would drastically reduce the burgeoning crime

P.W. Kelly, Walton-on-Naze, Essex.
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