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Dublin: 3°C Wednesday 20 January 2021

There's going to be a great big march for cannabis today in Dublin

Ciarán Maher of cannabis campaigners NORML Ireland wants to see ‘subtle’ state regulation of the drug.

Legalise Cannabis March Dublin Ireland Source: Sebastian Dooris

IT’S A THORNY issue in Irish society (and almost all others too), but today will see a march in Dublin for the side of the argument that want to see reform of Ireland’s cannabis laws.

The Global Cannabis March, which is expected to attract in excess of 2,000 people, is being organised by NORML (National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) Ireland and will march on Dáil Eireann later today.

Ciarán Maher, director at NORML, spoke to TheJournal.ie about the march, and about what he thinks the future is for cannabis in this country.

“Basically we’re calling on the government to regulate cannabis,” says Maher.

The new minister (for national drugs strategy, Aodhán Ó Riordáin) said he would look into decriminalisation which I would see as a very positive step.
We need to control the supply of cannabis in Ireland and take it out of the hands of the criminals.

Maher does admit that the Ó Riordáin won’t be present at the march as he wasn’t invited,

“We’ll probably reach out to his department going forward, but no, we haven’t actually invited him to the event,” he says.

420 Celebration pro-cannabis event Source: PA/Yui Mok

He believes that support for his organisation’s cause is definitely growing however.

“Our movement has definitely grown in the last number of years – you can see it in the kind of people who are responding to polls on the subject and the like.”

A lot of states in America are legalising now, so I hope it catches on here too.

So does he think legalisation of the drug in Ireland is imminent, or how long will it take?

It depends on how fast things happen in other countries. Ireland has a tradition of waiting to see what other countries do before progressing.
So what Britain and Spain and these kinds of countries are doing will have a lot of impact. There’s talk of a lot more US states legalising from next year, if they do that could definitely speed up the process.

“I want to see the state regulating cannabis use, like the Swedish government does with alcohol,” says Maher.

So in a subtle way if you get me, without flashy ads and corporate brands everywhere.

The march will run from 2pm at the Garden of Remembrance, just off O’Connell Street.

Read: The new drugs minister describes his trip to Amsterdam as a young student

Read: Three men tell High Court they should be let out of jail because of the ecstasy loophole

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