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Free The Weed- Photo Essay

category dublin | rights, freedoms and repression | feature author Monday May 07, 2007 17:35author by Paula Geraghtyauthor email mspgeraghty at yahoo dot ie Report this post to the editors

featured image
The streets will never be the same again

Funnily enough the march was delayed as the organisers needed permission from the police to march down. The same Garda joked that they should have brought sniffer dogs. A kid who joined the march who was being photographed, said "I don't even smoke that shit"

There was a Father Ted moment or 5 when 'Ghost Town', by The Specials, was played over and over. Lot's of young (and some not so young!) chanted loudly "We're Not Criminals" and "Free the Weed".

There was a Labour Youth Banner and speaker at the very end, whose brevity was very welcomed after Ming of Roscommon fame, presented a rather academic, articulate and thorough defense for the uses of cannabis. He also outlined the personal cost that he has borne campaigning for the decriminalisation of cannabis. There were anarchists, socialists, republicans, nationalists, Irish, Catalan and Basque all taking part. The event had more of an air of the annual Gay Pride Parade. The representative from Labour Youth gave said that LY was committed to decriminalisation of cannabis.

Related Links: Johnny Potsmoker Takes To The Street | Another Photo Essay From Dublin's Marijuana March | Marijuana March: All This Canna-biz In Toronto | 2002 J-Day In Bushy Park | Cannabis Legalisation Ireland | Irish Centre For Cannabis Policy Reform | Legalise Cannabis Myspace | Cannabis On Erowid

For another take on the event please look this this





Such a healthy bunch.......
Such a healthy bunch.......






author by Paula Geraghtypublication date Sun May 06, 2007 22:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Images (c)











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author by Paula Geraghtypublication date Sun May 06, 2007 22:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors






The treets will never be the same again..........
The treets will never be the same again..........

author by Shay O'Neillpublication date Mon May 07, 2007 01:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Brilliant march - 500 turned out despite the pissing rain. And they say stoners are non-political! Fair play to everybody who turned out. One of the most interesting things was the fact that there were more dublin accents on show than your average political march by far. And they say it's a middle class thing, not something that interests the working class. Fuck that. Everybody wants to be free.

author by Peter Toshpublication date Tue May 08, 2007 13:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I actually fully intended to go to the march but forgot about the dates. Such marches should be extended country-wide.

I do, however, believe the campaign has more chance of success if we call for cannabis smoking to be decriminalized rather than legalized as has happened in some countries.

The criminalization of smoking pot has all to do with money of course (surprise surprise).
Largely the Du Pont corporation can be 'thanked' since hemp products were (and continue to be) a threat to petro-chemical products. Before WW1 a host of things were made using hemp (the non-narcotic variety) incl. garments, rope, construction materials etc. In fact, recently a 700 year old hemp concrete bridge was found in France! Hemp is truly a wonder crop like soy. In addition, it requires no pesticides and grows everywhere. Abraham Lincoln said hemp should be planted everywhere and in the past in many countries farmers were fined for not planting at least some hemp.
Du Pont and the US govt initiated a propaganda campaign in the 1930s and linked hemp with the narcotic variety altho' they are two different strains. If this hadn't happened it is perhaps no exaggeration to say global warming wouldn't have been at all as bad since hemp can power cars, you can build with it, eat it, wear it etc. It would have cut down drastically on product miles for example.
What's more narcotic cannabis is among the most benign drugs (let's remember drugs have been part of all civilizations since forever- it's just that the West's relationship with drugs is often incredibly unhealthy by the use of hard drugs and its association with despair, unemployment and alienation endemic in Western societies ).

As with most things in life nothing is black and white- drugs can be your worst enemy or a very good friend- I would make a huge distinction, however, between hard and soft drugs and indeed between 'natural' and chemical drugs.

Stoners of the world unite!

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author by Jim - Kohoutek International, Ltd. publication date Tue May 08, 2007 18:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Excellent photos of an excellent day.

I think we proved something to the powers that be.

Whether they choose to listen is up to them...if they do, hurrah, and if they don't, well, we'll just have to continue taking the law into our own hands, as we've done for so long.

Excellent snaps.

p.s. So yeah, what about that adultery caper, hey? You may commence throwing nine bars at me.

author by Indymedia Editorpublication date Tue May 08, 2007 19:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A Transcription of Luke "Ming" Flanagan's Speech Delivered At The Rally

As a result of convictions for using cannabis I am no longer able to work in or travel to many countries around the world including the US and Australia. If I should ever to wish to adopt children I would be denied the right. I am also prohibited from working with children. I am the proud father of two girls. I work my arse off to make sure that they get everything that they need in life. Yet because of my criminal record If social services so wished they could take my children from me at will. For all intensive purposes the law treats me in the same manner as if I were a paedophile. Do you honestly believe that such sanctions should be imposed on anyone for using a substance that is according to the WHO safer than alcohol or tobacco? Do you honestly believe that 17%(as mentioned in latest studies) of 17 to 65 year olds who admit to using cannabis should be treated as criminals.

The reality is that if the 600,000 people who admitted to using cannabis were convicted then the country would come to stand still. 17% of doctors no longer able to practice medicine. 17% of teachers no longer able to teach. 17% of parents receiving regular visits from the social service because they would be classified as drug addicts. 17% of politicians careers destroyed. If the law was working as well as Noel Ahern would like, in other words Zero tolerance to all users, then people such as Fianna Fail MEP Eoin Ryan should now be a convicted drug user.

As well as being a completely impractical law the simple fact is that medical arguments which are used in favour of the prohibition of cannabis are built on lies and misinformation.

We are told that one of the main reasons for prohibiting the use of cannabis is that it is a gateway drug. This is simple not true. But do not take my word for this. Take the word of the distinguished medical Journal ‘The Lancet’ an authority far greater than anyone in this room. And I quote

“ Marijuana does not cause people to use hard drugs. What the gateway theory presents as a causal explanation is a statistical association between common and uncommon drugs, an association that changes over time as different drugs increase and decrease in prevalence. Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug used in the world today. Therefore, people who have used less popular drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and LSD, are likely to have also used marijuana. Most marijuana users never use any other illegal drug. Indeed, for the large majority of people, marijuana is a terminus rather than a gateway drug.”

To compound this fact In March 1999, the Institute of Medicine in Washington DC issued a report on various aspects of marijuana, including the so-called Gateway Theory

The IOM stated, "There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs."

Some claim that cannabis use leads to "adult a motivation." A World Health Organization report in 1998 addresses the issue and states, "it is doubtful that cannabis use produces a well defined a motivational syndrome." The report also notes that the value of studies which support the "adult a motivation" theory are "limited by their small sample sizes" and lack of representative social/cultural groups.

Another supposed argument for banning Cannabis is that it causes brain damage. This is simply not true. The brain damage argument is based on what is called the Dr. Heath/Tulane study. In this study Rhesus monkeys were strapped into a chair and then strapped into gas masks and given the equivalent of 63 Colombian strength joints in "five minutes, losing no smoke. As a result of ‘smoking’ this marijuana the monkeys ended up with brain damage. What the study remarkably ignores is that the monkeys’ brains are in fact damaged by oxygen deprivation and not by cannabis.

A subsequent study of 1318 people was carried out over a 15-year period at THE highly reputable “John Hopkins University” in Baltimore. Researchers reported "no significant differences in cognitive decline between heavy users, light users, and nonusers of cannabis."

Apparently Cannabis is damaging to both the lungs and other organs. This is only the case when the plant is smoked. In fact the same could be said of every plant on the planet. The reality is that drawing any type of smoke over your lungs is bad for you. However suggestions that it is more harmful than tobacco are rubbish. There has been suggestions in the media that Cannabis is anything up to five times more carcinogenic than tobacco. The studies quoted were carried out at the University of California and Los Angelos by Dr Donald Tashkin. In the last year I have spoken at length with the doctor on the issue. I was informed by him that the studies which were done involved using Cannabis cigarettes without filters and tobacco cigarettes with filters. Now the reason for this is that Cannabis cigarettes are in general used without filers. So the reason why Cannabis was deemed more harmful was because users do not use filters and not becasue it gave off more smoke. What we do not hear is that cannabis can be used in more ways than smoking it. It can be eaten or used in a drink. This where the idea that Cannabis is more carcinogenic than tobacco goes out the window. Whether eaten or smoked tobacco is highly carcinogenic. When cannabis is eaten it can in fact reduce your risk of getting cancer. In one trial, investigators at Complutense University in Spain and the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (INSERM) in France assessed the anti-cancer activity of cannabinoids in pancreatic cancer cell lines and in animals. Cannabinoid administration selectively increased apoptosis (programmed cell death) in pancreatic tumor cells while ignoring healthy cells, researchers found. In addition, "cannabinoid treatment inhibited the spreading of pancreatic tumor cells ... and reduced the growth of tumor cells" in animals. Similar trials had been carried out for years at Universities in the USA but government pressure put a stop to them because they did not fit in with their views on cannabis prohibition. Another case of the United States of America putting ideology before peoples lives.

Having failed on every other medical angle to prove that cannabis was harmful the latest bogeyman which is being used against the drug is that it apparently causes schizophrenia. Before interpreting reports on this subject it is important to consider the difference between causation and correlation - a difference that is often ignored by the media and indeed some "experts" who often confuse the two. Statistics tend to show that the phenomena of correlation between cannabis and, for instance, schizophrenia exists - that is that on average, a person who uses cannabis is more likely to be schizophrenic than one who does not. What they do generally not show is causation - that the use of cannabis causes an otherwise "normal" person to become schizophrenic. This is a vital difference to understand when weighing up the risks of cannabis usage. On this basis to conclude that cannabis causes schizophrenia is similar to concluding that because extra large clothing are worn by people who are obese that it is in fact the clothing that made them obese in the first place. Such logic would not for a minute accepted when it comes to discussing obesity so why then do the experts entertain such lame studies when it comes to cannabis. The reality is that the scientific evidence is being manipulated in order to score political points.

While the Oireachtas Committee on Cannabis came to one set of conclusions on reviewing the evidence available they were in direct conflict with other groups who reviewed the same data. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has been quoted as saying that "there is little evidence that cannabis use can precipitate schizophrenia or other mental illness in those not already predisposed to it" The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee wrote that "...we do not believe that it can cause schizophrenia in a previously well user with no predisposition to develop the disease" . In fact Professor Mary Cannon, who is a consultant on the Oireachtas report, has in a television debate with myself admitted that there is no scientific evidence showing a causation link between cannabis use in adults and the development of schizophrenia. Ultimately the best way to judge whether or not Cannabis use causes Schizophrenia is to look at society as a whole. During the last thirty years Cannabis use has increased twenty fold while during that same period incidences of schizophrenia have decreased. Now if that doesn't show that these studies are rubbish then what does because if there was any truth in them then surely the number of cases of schizophrenia should have increased significantly.

One thing that is clear is that people who are vulnerable to mental illness should not use cannabis, or alcohol for that matter. However under the current regime if a person with a propensity towards mental illness does use cannabis then they are exposed to full the rigours of the law. This could involve being strip searched followed by detention in a cell. Subsequently they would face the trauma of having to go before a court. After that their name would be emblazoned across their local newspaper. If one was in danger of suffering mental problems then all of these events merely exacerbate the problem. In fact it is well known that one of the main aggravating factors when it comes to schizophrenia is stress. The current laws on cannabis merely serve to make life worse for people with mental illness and not better. These people are being squeezed to death by society. In many cases all people are trying to do is to make themselves feel better, albeit unjustified, by using cannabis because the mental health system has failed them miserable. If these poeple were treated fairly by the mental health system then they would not be half as likely to grasp at any straw that they feel might get them out of what must be a living hell. It is sick in the extreme that society should penalise these vulnerable people even further by lumbering them with the tag of being a criminal.

The 1977 Misuse of drugs act was introduced in an attempt to curb the use and supply of illegal drugs including cannabis. This law has failed in all of it objectives. In fact what has happened in the last 30 years is that cannabis now more freely available than ever. It is more widely used than ever. It is cheaper than ever. According to Gardai Siochana figures this failed war on cannabis has cost the state an estimated 10 billion euros over the last 30 years. For the same price this country could have provided for its people one thousand 25 metre indoor swimming pools complete with gym sauna and massage parlour. It does not take a genius to realise that if governments adopted a policy of providing recreational facilities for the people then maybe they would not be half as interested in getting stoned. If this crazy law is not changed then we face the prospect of wasting the equivalent of another 10 billion euros over the next twenty-five years on enforcing the unenforceable.

Legalising Cannabis would also financially benefit Ireland in another substantial way. The estimated value of cannabis sold in this country is anything between 250 and 500 million euro/year. The vast majority of this is imported at present. If Legalised cannabis could be grown by Irish producers thus repatriating 100s of million of euros back into our economy every year. Cannabis could also be taxed in the same way as other more harmful legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. The resultant tax dividend could be spent on dealing with the use of other drugs. At present this money all goes to organised crime. How can anyone argue that this money is better off in the hands of the type of people who shot Veronica Guerin than it is to invest it in recreational facilities?

When it comes to tackling problems with drugs in Ireland we consistently bark up the wrong tree. Every single day we are blasted out of it with articles about drugs doing this and causing that. Yet by far the biggest drug problem in this country is that of the drug alcohol. How many families do know you that have been ruined by this drug? Then tell me how many families the drug cannabis has ruined. There is no contest. Alcohol is by far the biggest ‘Killer drug’ in Ireland today. It is a fact that 25% of patients in hospital in this country are there directly or indirectly because of alcohol. How many are there because of cannabis. If there are any then it is news to me. Yet we have a Taoiseach and Tanaiste who open a new pub every day. Every dignitary who visits this country has a pint of plain pushed in his or her face. Yet the same people argue that to legalise cannabis would send out the wrong signal to the youth of this country.

It would be irresponsible of any one to propose changes in laws without first having proof that these changes would benefit society. The Dutch experiment of adopting a policy of tolerance towards cannabis provides us with all the proof we need that our laws must be changed immediately. In a comparison with Great Britain, a country with very similar laws to our own, it can be seen that Dutch policies are far more effective in reducing the use of drugs. In Britain 40% of teenagers have tried cannabis. That figure is at 20% for Dutch teenagers. This, in a country where you can without fear of recrimination go into a coffee shop and purchase your smoke. The figures for Heroine usage make very interesting reading. In Holland only one in every 10,000 teenagers have tried Heroine where as Britain has an alarming figure of 1 in 50. It would be logical to conclude that Dutch teenagers are less likely to come in contact with Heroine because they do not have to go to dealers for their cannabis.

So with all this evidence staring politicians in the face why then is cannabis still illegal. One of the reasons is that political parties in this country have dug themselves into a hole on the issue. After years of scare mongering as to the supposed dangers of cannabis it would now be very difficult to admit that they were wrong.

I conclude by saying that our government would be well advised to look at the following facts.

Since 1969, government-appointed commissions in the United States, Canada, England, Australia, and the Netherlands concluded, after reviewing the scientific evidence, that the danger of cannabis had previously been greatly exaggerated, and urged lawmakers to drastically reduce or eliminate penalties for marijuana possession.

Now who are we to argue with that?

author by The Good oul Weedpublication date Tue May 08, 2007 22:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Surly, isn't alcohol more dangerous than a smoke of whatever. Anyone who suuffered abuse as young child will tell you it was not the weed that was the cause but Alcohol. Wherre is labours stance on that?. Luke is correct, a smoke is relaxing . whiskey is aggigating. Just be outside bars at closing time Do you not agree?LHope luke gets in as Independent and control those labour/f/g/greens like they are controlling us now

author by totally sweet dudepublication date Wed May 09, 2007 00:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Did Ming really say "for all intensive purposes?" ROFL, dude!
I agree that alcohol is equally or more dangerous than hash - both should be illegal.

author by Jacqueline Fallonpublication date Wed May 09, 2007 00:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I believe all the so-called illegal drugs like: Cannabis, Heroin, Cocaine etc., should be legalised, not because I am in favour of them - I am not - but, because they are illegal, there is no control on their use. People purchasing Cocaine or Heroin or, indeed, Cannabis (unless they grow it themselves) from the local drug dealer don’t know what the fuck they are buying or the exact potency of the drug, there is no control and no come-back (no Customer Service Dept. to complain to), no refund nor receipt, and absolutely no guarantee about the safety of the substance entering your body or indeed if you’ll live at all after it!

Some parasitic people out there are making easy millions from the sale of illegal drugs to addicts and they will continue to do so unless the illegal drugs are legalised. Those in Leinster House believe throwing a few more of their Gardaí and a few drug treatment places at the situation is the solution, it isn’t, you have to legalise and regulate these drugs, I say this as nothing else appears to be working.

The number of drug treatment centres for addicts should also be increased to an enormous extent to cope with the overwhelming demand out there. There seems to be very little drug treatment places for those who wish to get off the damn stuff!

In my opinion, less harmless (but not exactly harmless) drugs such as Cannabis could be bought at the local shop with the usual ignored 'government' health warnings on the front of them (alongside all the other toxic health depleting ‘smokes’ already for sale there).

I’ll not applaud this march, as I don’t approve of Cannabis, I have never and would not ever touch the stuff myself, but I agree with you to a certain extent, Cannabis should be legalised, but not for the reasons I suspect most of you on that march want it legalised.

author by soft spot - homelesspublication date Wed May 09, 2007 08:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Though we all understand that alcohol is no doubt the root of most social crime and personal problems thee truth is this has always been the case. Alcohol has been a staple diet of the Irish national for decades. Hash has not, meaing that people are afraind of it ie the older generation. This concept of believing that the Irish goverment will ever listen to their people is a joke. They are right wing scum who have forgotten on what this state was built.
Hash is a nice way to chill out after a hard day at work and yes no violence follows consumption but come on now that argument is rather shallow as the publicans rule the country and we countiune to line theeir pockets with silver and gold

author by Dubpublication date Fri May 11, 2007 17:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I had heard that this was on but I was told to expect a few dozen.
I see hundreds on young people in these pictures.
Fair play to the organisers!!

author by Mikepublication date Fri May 11, 2007 23:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

UK style "reclassification" or Decriminalising "personal use" while keeping supply illegal is not really worth a damn. It’s like a half arsed compromise between legalisation and prohibition which delivers the worst of both worlds because the supply remains in the hands of gangsters, terrorists and the CIA

author by Barrypublication date Sun May 13, 2007 10:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

personally i believe the legalisation of heroin/diamorphine on a prescription basis for registered addicts would be of more benefit to this country than the legalisation of Marijuana . A march on this quite serious issue would be of more benefit to those enduring the living hell of heroin addiction , their families and loved ones. At the end of the day weed is simply for recreation and you can easily live without it and go without it, its a selfish issue , even a childish one compared to the seriousness of Irelands heroin addiction problem and not of any real interest to those of us who dont use marijuana . And before you start about alcohol I dont drink either .

author by Squirrelpublication date Sun May 13, 2007 13:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Barry the issues people choose to campaign on are rarely the same. Don't condemn this one because its not the same as the one your interested in. There are many levels of importance in issues to campaign on. I personally think that both the issues of legalisation of Cannabis or Heroin pale into insignificance when compared with starvation or the HIV epidemic in Africa but I won't condemn either on that basis.

The fact is that cannabis is a naturally occurring herb which needs no chemical processing before consumptions, there have been no recorded fatalities through its use and it is non addictive therefore its illegality is an affront to the liberty and privacy of all citizens whether they choose to use it or not.

Heroin or Diamorphine is a chemical processed from opium, has had many fatalities and is extremely addictive and its use results in many costs for society therefore its use needs to be controlled. I would however agree that addicts should be prescribed it as well as people in extreme pain eg cancer sufferers.

author by Squirrelpublication date Sun May 13, 2007 13:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Squerril, as a humble herbalist I couldn'tagree more.
I virtually live on weeds eg. dandelion french word for it is Piss au Lait
The reason when we tke it infusedin boiling water we wee wee out the toxic waster in our bodies. thus eliminating diseases.
this has not come upin the election , maybe Luke could see into that. Watch out for the Dandelions then, the yellow floweralong the side of the roads but be careful to pick them off hte main roads because of pollution..

author by Squirrellpublication date Sun May 13, 2007 23:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Stories about you piss drinking are for another website methinks hmm..........

author by Alvin Chipmunkpublication date Fri Jun 12, 2009 17:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We all know the harm alcohol has caused not just in this country but worldwide and we all know that cannabis should be legalised but when has an Irish government ever used common sense or listened to the people who put it in place. Only when OUR government realises that it works for US not the other way round will we ever see cannabis legalised or indeed a proper government of the people functioning how we the people tell it to.

author by Country Boy..publication date Fri Jun 12, 2009 18:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I like the the placard with "God Made This..was he wrong?.".

You can extend that fatuous argument to Earthquakes or Tsunamis or Cancer or the Venom of a Black Widow Spider.

Or the bite of a Rabid dog.

The notion that "Natural=Safe" is a very common delusion among city dwellers.

Tobacco and Alcohol are both "As Natural as the Driven Snow".

Both destroy the lives of tens of millions of humans every single year.

(Driven snow kills quite a few as well!!)

Cannabis may well be no worse a killer than Alcohol or Tobacco.

In saying that...... you "Condemn it with Faint Praise."


author by Non Smoker.publication date Fri Jun 12, 2009 19:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why anybody would march up and down a street advocating inhaling dense smoke is completely beyond me.

Dense Smoke which gives them a "High" as they call it.

They are using their own lungs as a voluntary scientific experiment.

It took 40 years ,at least, for the horrors of tobacco to be revealed.

Let them poison themselves if they like.

I, for one, would not inhale that S**T.

The "Cough Reflex" alone... is a warning from my body..telling me to.keep away from that S**T.


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