A former Chief Constable from the United Kingdom told a conference in Galway at the weekend that he had come to the conclusion that street drugs should be legalised.
Retired officer Tom Lloyd told the first national Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Ireland conference at NUI Galway that policemen were wasting their time chasing down and obtaining evidence from recreational drug users.
He told the audience of about 50 students that drugs were not the problem– the problem was the law.
“If you’ve got a problem with drug use, the last thing you need is to be arrested and prosecuted; if you haven’t got a problem, the last thing you need is to be arrested and prosecuted,” he explained.
Lloyd was one of four main speakers assembled by SSDP Ireland for the all-day conference at NUI Galway on Saturday.
Among those who spoke out in favour of a change in policy was Deputy Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (Independent) who tried unsuccessfully to bring a Cannabis Regulation Bill through the Dail last November.
Criminologist Dr Paul O’Mahony and harm reduction researcher Tim Bingham also spoke in favour of changing the law.
A European Election candidate who has had both eyes removed due to glaucoma, Mark Fitzsimons, gave an emotional ten minute talk about the impact which herbal cannabis has had on his life.
The 30-year old said he discovered the medical benefits of marijuana in his teens and felt strongly that it should be made available to others.
Just three months ago, he handed himself into Gardai at Dundalk with a quantity of cannabis in a protest which was designed to challenge prohibition.
For more from this conference see this week’s Sentinel