“Should Cannabis be Legalised in Ireland?” Debate hosted by SSDP Ireland and the UCC Philosoph in Cork, Ireland. by Graham de Barra, SSDP Ireland In its opening event of the year, SSDP Ireland and the UCC Philosoph society hosted the debate, “Should Cannabis be Legalised in Ireland?” Thanks to fellow health campaigner Aodhrua McAb SSDP was given the opportunity to work with the Philosoph in hosting the debate. The weeks leading up to the event were spent short listing speakers, as well as, undergoing a series of phone conversations with the Philosoph who showed enthusiasm and excitement at the prospect of working together. The two speakers chosen on behalf of the proposing side were Peter Reynolds of the Cannabis Law Reform political party (CLEAR) and Gordon McCardle, Irish author of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act2010. Standing against the motion was Dr. Johnny Connolly of the Irish Health Research Board, a man of great charisma and repute. The debate explored several different arguments ranging from the medicinal properties of cannabis, as well as arguments for a more humane approach to drug policy and looser sentencing, in particular for Irish youth. Arguments opposing the proposition were health risks, including the link to psychosis as well as inconclusive evidence to prove that regulation would eliminate the black market. In front of an audience of about 80 eager listeners Mr. Reynolds opened the debate by arguing for what he called the “four pillars” of his argument;
- That cannabis is good for general health,
- That current laws in place cause more damage to society than the drug itself,
- That current policies don’t protect children and the vulnerable, and
- The regulation of cannabis could potentially bring billions to the exchequer in revenue.