Friday 23 March 2018

Legalising drugs is the best option for society. Criminals are the real losers

The 'war' on drugs was lost before it had ever begun. The futility of prohibition is finally beginning to dawn, writes Dan O'Brien

DEBATE: Real freedom includes the freedom to harm oneself
DEBATE: Real freedom includes the freedom to harm oneself
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

Efforts to stop people taking intoxicants will be in vain for as long as human nature is as it is. The downsides of prohibiting substances that people want to consume outweighs the upsides. For softer drugs, such as cannabis, the case for decriminalisation is overwhelming.

These realities are at last having an effect on the debate in many countries, Ireland included. Just last week the Mexican supreme court in a majority decision ruled that a "cannabis club" was not breaking the law by growing and transporting the drug for its members' recreational use. North of the Rio Grande, some US states have decriminalised marijuana in recent years and many more are allowing its use for medicinal purposes.

Perhaps most pertinent for Ireland is the case of Portugal. A decade-and-a-half ago, our European neighbour made a fundamental change to its laws. The possession of 10 days' supply of all drugs was decriminalised and instead made a mere civil offence.

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