April 18, 2016

War on drugs is fuelled by junk economics

Posted in Sunday Business Post · 140 comments ·

Is it time to legalise drugs? Why do we go along with a “war on drugs” policy that isn’t working? Why do we slavishly allow criminals to control this business? If making drugs illegal was supposed to stop drug use, it has failed miserably. What is the point of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?

Ireland has criminal gangs killing each other because the drugs business is highly profitable. It’s about money. Why not make it legal, tax it and eliminate the gangs?

The first thing we know about human nature is that prohibition doesn’t work. Irish people, and indeed people all over the world, are taking more drugs than ever. The policy isn’t working, so stop it. How do you think the Mafia came to power in the 1920s in the US? They did so because they sold illegal booze, and the more illegal it was during Prohibition, the more expensive it was and the more lucrative it was. This is so obvious that it doesn’t need explaining.

When you make something illegal, but don’t change people’s habits because people use drugs anyway, you drive the trade underground and you push the price up, dramatically.

But four other specific implications flow from the high price of drugs. Addicts must shell out hundreds of times the real cost of drugs, so they have to rob to feed their habits. Petty crime goes through the roof. The higher the price, the more crime occurs just to buy the same amount of gear.

At the same time, those who deal find themselves carrying extremely valuable goods. Therefore, among the low-level dealers, crime, assault and murder increase because they are carrying extremely valuable cargo.

The streets of the city become literally a battleground for turf among competing dealers. Last Wednesday, we saw what happens when these battles get out of control. When the returns are so substantial, criminals will do anything to dominate the business.

When drugs are legalised (and yes, I believe it is a matter of when, not if), their price will collapse, and so will drug-related crime. Users will no longer need to steal to support their habits. Drug-related crime will fall to the same level as off-licence-related crime. When was the last time you heard about a person being killed at an off-licence for a bottle of vodka or being stabbed for a packet of 20 Major?

Legalising drugs would also lead to a dramatic and permanent fall in out our prison population. The majority of prisoners in Ireland are there because of drug-related crimes. A few years ago, I went to Mountjoy Prison to talk economics to prisoners who were doing the subject in the Leaving Cert. These men were trying to get their acts together, which must be almost impossible when you are inside. The vast majority of them were doing time for drug-related offences. These are only offences because, unlike fags and booze, drugs are illegal.

If the prisons are clogged up with drug-related offenders, so too must be the courts. Legalising drugs would thus also free up huge resources wasted in the legal system to enforce the war on drugs, which isn’t working at all. And think about the amount of Garda resources that would also be freed up.

Maybe the most obvious prize would be that legalising drugs would destroy the drug gangs. There would be no reason for them to be in business. This result alone has to be worth considering. The only reason why these guys kill is because they are making a fortune.

Why not accept that prohibition is not stopping people wanting to get out of their heads? We can agonise about why this is, and we can rightly warn families and friends of the dangers of addiction, but making drug use illegal has not reduced drug use. In fact, all the evidence is that drug use is increasing rapidly.

Up to now the insistence of the authorities has been that, unlike booze and fags, illegal drug use is a preserve of a tiny minority. This is simply not true. The latest EU’s report on drug-taking, estimates that around a quarter of Europe’s adult population have taken an illegal drug in their lifetime. Look at the charts for cocaine use.

Unsurprisingly, cocaine and cannabis are the most popular – the report states that, throughout the continent, around 2,000 tonnes of weed alone is smoked each year. That’s a lot of stoned people.

Ireland comes close to the top of the cocaine-snorting, pill-popping, weed-smoking league and when it comes to painkiller abuse, it is number one.

This means that there is an enormous drug economy here. Now, you would have to have been living under a stone (or extremely wasted) not to notice this.

So let’s try to do a bit of back-of-the-envelope calculation. According to the Havocscope.com, which estimates black market activity all over the world, drugs are quite expensive in Ireland relative to other countries.

According to this site, cocaine in Ireland sells for €100 per gram. Ecstasy trades at €5 per tablet, or ten ecstasy tablets for €40. A bag of heroin that is filled with 0.3 grams of heroin sells for €20, while two grams of heroin costs addicts on the streets of Dublin €100. Poor-quality cannabis resin is reportedly sold in seven-gram batches which are available for purchase for €25.

This means the illegal drug market in Ireland is enormous. In Britain, the Office for National Statistics estimated the figure was €5.5 billion per year for illegal drugs representing 0.4 per cent of GDP. Spain has just come out with its own figures, showing that last year Spaniards spent €5.7 billion on drugs (0.5 per cent of GDP). Is there any reason to believe that Ireland’s figures are different?

Standing back, we need to accept that the war on drugs is not working at all. It is creating, not stopping, criminality. How many more innocent people will have to be gunned down before we begin this conversation? The economics of this debate are very straightforward – so why not start the discussion?

  1. DiarmaidM

    Good article. While full legalisation is not going to solved all problems the one thing we know is that the current policy is a complete and utter failure both socially and economically. Time to try something very different. Start with marijuana (as has already been done in many places) and work from there.

  2. Onda

    Good article. The taxes could be used to support chronically under resourced drug treatment centres and drug education also legally available drugs should eliminate deaths from contaminated drugs.

  3. Colm MacDonncha

    It would also be very interesting to see where else the cash flows dry up as the money laundering industry would also dry up. I often look at the buckets of cash washing around the fringe entertainment/fighting industries and wonder who exactly is financing the multi million Euro prize funds that these relatively minor tournaments seem to generate. But of course any legalization of drugs would require a forward thinking,progressive government with a backbone, and the interests of the nation at heart. Which is quite funny when one sees it in writing.
    Just a thought for a sunny Monday morning here in Galway.

    • “any legalization of drugs would require a forward thinking,progressive government with a backbone, and the interests of the nation at heart”.

      Yeah and that’s never going to happen Colm.

      I could never ever over state my absolute hatred and disdain for the Irish political ‘class’.

      Ireland really and truly is a kakistocracy – ruled by the worst of men.

      And yet, and yet – they still get elected…

      • Sideshow Bob


        If you think Irish politicians are bad and the Daíl is exceptionally dysfunctional, have a read of this…http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/18/dilma-rousseff-congress-impeach-brazilian-president

      • garrethmcdaid

        We revere elections and then detest the government they produce, but it doesn’t need to be so. http://sortitionireland.org

        • jaysus

          Yep, they still get elected. Eases the sense of loss at being an emmigrant, better off out of it.

          • Don’t feel any personal loss myself but would like to see the people back in Ireland getting a better deal.

            They need to help themselves as well though and not take this shit that masquerades as ‘governance’ any more.

        • Pat Flannery

          Thanks for that Sortition link Garreth. I assume the site is hosted by Brett Hennig who seems to have some interesting ideas (for an Aussie). I will follow Sortition Ireland on Facebook and see where it goes.

          Like you I had already read Fine Gael’s Oireachtas Reform Program with interest and had noted its ‘Citizens Assembly’ commitment together with its promise that ‘Chairs of Oireachtas Committees will be allocated on a proportional basis using the D’Hondt system’.

          That may be a start, even though it was probably written, pre-election in anticipation of the present numerical impasse, as an enticement to independents.

          I don’t think that such a written reform document has been produced by commitment-shy Fianna Fail or at least I have not seen it. Fianna Fail has a more traditional (Irish) approach to giving such commitments, never put anything in writing.

          The Irish traditionally prefer weasel rhetoric. ‘Verba volant, scripta manent’. But things may finally be changing, for both parties.

          • garrethmcdaid

            Sortition Ireland is actually my own creation, although I have been in contact with Brett Henning too. I’m trying to get if off the ground at the moment, so I’m playing the Cuckoo across various social media platforms. There is a meeting for anyone is interested in getting more involved in the Teachers Club on Parnell Square this Wednesday night (8pm). Full blown sortition is obviously a radical proposal, but we do need some organisation to point out the flaws of electoral democracy and nail the myth of “no alternatives”.

          • Pat Flannery

            garrethmcdaid: I should have guessed because it included ireland in the web name. I do not live in Dublin otherwise I would love to attend your Wednesday meeting.

            I have subscribed to your web site’s RSS feed which is my favorite way of monitoring web content. Good luck on Wednesday and in getting the word out generally.

          • Sideshow Bob

            I´d appreciate it Garreth if you didn´t play “cuckoo´´ after I post I make. Make a fresh one please.

            Ancient Greece ( “Golden´´ era ) has nothing in common with modern day Ireland. No part of it. Absolutely Zero.

            Right now in Brazil a new type of bloodless right wing oligarchical coup is occurring, and this is interesting.

            Ireland has many very simple elements in terms of a democratic defict that could be addressed and would change things immediately, examples of this can be found in the world around us not Ancient Greece or Egypt or China or where-ever you what to mention.

            The election could be moved to a Sunday which would instantly increase the young vote and decrease the percentage and influnence of the grey vote. Voting could become obligatory with affects for taxation, PRSI or Social Welfare or Passport renewal. this could bring up voter participation to close to 100% and would result in particularly ambivalent voters or disenfranchised voters joining in and having their voice heard. PR could be reduced to say half of the election system (say 80 seats, or 2 per constituency )and a party list system with a 5% threshold nationwide could be used for the other half (something like this exists in Israel). This would reduce the desire for party splits, and force politicians to seek and build on common ground i.e to unify and it would undermine the ridiculous phenomenon of these parish pump County Councillors graduating onto independent TDs.

            Now back to issue of drugs please.

          • garrethmcdaid

            No one is claiming a correspondence with ancient Greece, but if you aim is to establish democratic government, your system should retain the basic elements of what democracy was supposed to be, which is not elections.

            Also, the changes you propose are not simple. They would have profound constitutional implications, particular the one in relation to property rights, whereas the only constitutional change required to introduce random selection would be to amend the section on how the Dail is established.

          • Sideshow Bob

            From you own website, your own invention so you say, and linked above here is a claim to legitimacy.

            “Sortition was used in the government of ancient Athens,…´´

            There you go, you brought up ancient Greece. There is also a quote on there from Aristotle backing up the idea.

            Nice to see that in addition to calling black white you are an open minded debater. There is no big constitutional difficult in moving the day of the election, that isn´t set in stone. It is done to keep the young vote down. Recently enough the Government attempted to abolish the Senate via referendum, so the reorganization of our PR system to something less politically weak is clearly something that could be put to the people if it was so desired.

            As for your property point I don´t know what you are talking about – I didn´t mention property. The suggestion that I made which wasn´t perhaps clear is that a punitive system similar to that used in other countries with obligatory voting could be replicated in Ireland.

      • redriversix

        Far too much money being made from the War on Drugs.
        Should be legalised
        But too much money & employment would be lost

    • Irish PI

      There is a saying “crime doesnt pay!” What utter Bullshit!
      Crime is one of the BEST payers and busisness in the Western world.
      If grass were to be legalised tomrrow think alone of what revenue loss it would be to; The Gaurds on overtime,finance of drug depts and purchase of equipment. Revenue and customs,no need for drug sniffer dogs,overtime,fancy boats ,etc.The entire legal profession in defence fees and what not for lawyers and judges,prision warders or for building and maintaing jails. Alarm and security companies,and on and on.These are all spin off industries in their own right that benefit from crime here in Ireland.Now multiply that by ten thousand fold in the US and Europe. The US throws more per year in money on this hopelessly lost “war on drugs” since the 1980s than they have on Iraq and Afghanistan.Everything from satellite technology to snouts on the streets,and all that is happening on a year in year out basis is the price on the street keeps dropping and the US govt gets to tear up more of the bill of rights in this lost war.

      Do you think agncies like the DEA,NSA ,BATFE, thousands of police depts want to see legalised drugs??Heck No!! That means no more free money to fight drug wars or free armoured personel carriers and Hummers from the US govt to tool up the SWAT unit to go kick in a door of a house your local police cheif fancies because they can take it off you ,along with your bnk accounts and cars and everything else,because a local cop caught your teen son with a joint at a party.This has actually happened multiple times in the States to innocent people under the Drug Asset forfeiture laws.
      Crime pays and it is huge busisness for everyone except the criminal.So for drugs to be legalised it would be killing the golden egg laying goose.

  4. McCawber

    Legalising drugs or anything else for that matter to put criminals out of business seems to me to be a flawed logic/solution.
    Before legalising drugs, the question that needs to be asked is this with supplementaries.
    Why were drugs banned in the first place?
    Has the cost benefit analysis been done.
    Will we suddenly find ourselves will a huge increase in side effects both medical and non medical for example.
    Make haste SLOWLY
    Make haste slowly and do the homework.

    • McCawber

      Oh and let’s wait for some other country to test this proposal.
      So let’s make haste VERY VERY SLOWLY.

    • Deco

      I don’t agree with substance abuse, or any consumption that creates an artificial feeling of elation. Because biologically, it is the equivalent of a borrowing binge. In the short term illusions of greatness are fuelled. In the longer term, disaster awakens. It causes the loss of personal freedom and health.

      However, we should stop prohibiting other from their right to wreck their personal health. In other words if somebody wants to wreck themselves they are entitled to do so.

      Currently, we have a near monopoly in legal highs in Ireland, held by one brewing oligopoly. And it does not want to see market liberalisation.

      It is that conglomerate and not the bishops that are preventing a rethink of the drugs market.

      Because, by prohibiting the right to self delusion, we are effectively wrecking society. For example, it seems that self delusion is compulsory with respect to finance, and prohibited with respect to drugs.

      In other words, like most people on this thread I can see that drug laws are causing more harm, than if there were no drug laws.

      I propose that each local authority be allowed to designate cannabis consumption zones. In other words if Laois Council want to turn Portarlington into a zone where people can freely smoke pot, in public then fine. Everybody in Laois who wants to get high, can get their whacky backy in Portarlington, and have it there. And the market for cocaine, LSD, Crystal Meth (which is a big problem) and whatever else can disintegrate.

      People just sign a form outside a designate pot village, and then they can all get high on marajuana.

      And the same with the other local authorities.

      The drugs gangs are murdering innocents. The gardai are running away from them. The lawyers are delighted, because they have an extremely rich base for revenue. And the courts system is clogged up with dangerous criminals and people who refuse to pay their tax for the provision of propaganda.

      In other words, as David says, the economics of the entire system are now beyond absurd, to the point of being dangerous.

    • Irish PI

      Netherlands?Switzerland? 8 states in the US where it is now legal to sell and grow Mary Jane?? Colarados state revenue has gone up 400% PA since they legalised the sale of grass.

    • Tony

      Why were drugs banned?

      This is a good explanation http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/28/why-are-drugs-illegal-google-answer

      And Johann Hari’s book “Chasing the Scream” goes into more detail and is a fascinating read

    • Antaine

      Did you forget to tick the Notify me box? :-)

      • I certainly did Antaine, takes a sinner to know a sinner.

        Actually I didn’t ‘forget’ but I involunatarily clicked on submit before I had ticked the box.

        • Antaine

          I’ve done it many a time. Very frustrating.
          Great article. I’d recommend a book on the Drug War ‘Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari’. He has a TED talk on it also.
          Its such a complex issue but I fear our ‘Drugs are bad mkay brigade’ won’t even facilitate an open debate on the issue. I hope I’m wrong but there seems to be too many vested interests to change the system.
          I met an addict on the bus one day who was philosophising to me about Societies Need for him. ‘They’ need the likes of me. The Gardaí, Judges, Solicitors, Social workers etc. What would they do for work and overtime if it wasn’t for the likes of me?

  5. cooldude

    Excellent article David. The war on plants has been a failure and it is time to place more emphasis on personal responsibility rather than government imposed regulation. People should be allowed to take any drug they want as long as the dangers of the drugs are clearly outlined to them. Perhaps having former junkies doing educational visits to schools to clearly explain the horrors of addiction would help. The argument is not just economical it is also a philosophical one and the emphasis must return more to personal responsibility for all our actions.

  6. “After 30 years on the frontline, Colombia looks beyond the failed war on drugs”


  7. niamh

    People always seem to be on one side of this debate or the other, supporting either a very conservative view or a liberal answer that seems to neatly solve all of the associated problems with one stroke of a pen. I think there are complexities that should be addressed.

    For example, do you think that the criminal gangs who currently supply drugs are just going to retire because their market is gone? A life of crime almost always comes from early-life circumstances of poverty, deprivation or abuse. The solution for some people who grow up with little hope of every having any share of power or ‘respect’ in society is to join a gang and gain back a sense of control. No one wants to feel like a ‘nobody’ and some people are willing to do anything to change the narrative of their lives. This is not my personal opinion, thousands of psychological and social studies reveal this to be the case. Until certain socioeconomic problems are addressed, there will be criminal gangs. So the question should be, what other illegal activity will the gangs switch to if you take away their drug money? Perhaps they will still sell illegal drugs, but choose to move into new more exotic or more dangerous varieties. Will they undercut the legal drug trade as many gangs are now doing with illegal cigarettes? Perhaps they will try to make a market out of selling to underage kids? Maybe there will be a rise in human trafficking and prostitution as they have to diversify? Whatever they do with their day, it would be simplistic to assume that they would just through their hands in the air and quit a life of crime.

    Secondly, people always give the argument, ‘sure people are taking drugs anyways’ as a reason to legalise. Because people are doing something is not a good logical reason in itself to allow it. If this were the case, then, ‘sure people are murdering people anyways, so we may as well legalise that too’. (I’m not saying it’s as bad, just pointing out the fallacy of the logical when applied to something more serious).

    What is legal or illegal should speak more about what we as a society view as behavior that is best for individuals and society. Legal activities are considered ‘ok’, approved by all of society. The message this gives to the next generation is that we, your parents essentially, think there is no real problem with you taking drugs. This view ignores the obvious and well documented health and psychological damaged caused by the use of certain drugs. It is much more difficult to try to convince your teenager not to drink alcohol than it is to tell them to avoid hard drugs. We are still heavily psychologically influenced by peer approval, and so what ‘everyone’ has theoretically approved is far more difficult to avoid than something ‘everyone’ disapproves of. Sure some will go for it anyways, but has there been any studies into what percentage of the population are ‘don’t knows’, the kind of go-with-the-flow folk who would do something if it was seen as ok and easy to obtain at a shop, but who would not want to cross any legal or conceptually ‘wrong’ lines? What is the expected percentage increase in drug taking overall?

    So with criminal gangs on the hunt for a new income streams, and perhaps thousands of people who may never have touched a drug ‘giving it a go’, would legalizing drugs really turn out to be the simple and fantastic solution people believe it to be?

    • Knowing a few gangsters around the place, they definitely aren’t going to be retiring if drugs are legalized – it’s all they know, but it’s hard to think of a more lucrative business for them to be involved in – they’ll just make less money.

    • Mike Lucey


      You make very true points particularly about the ‘Shure I’ll give it a go as its legal’ folk and there are quite a few around.

      As David says, we need to get talking about it and looking at how other countries have handled the drug situation.

      I now see heavy advertising on TV that shows the Gardai checking for drivers on drugs. They seem to be using pretty crude detection methods, nose touching and pupil sizing cards. Maybe thats all that finances will allow for.

      Personally I have no problem with someone taking as many drugs as they like provided they do not ‘frighten the horses’. When this happens I do have a problem.

      If recreational drugs were to be sold over the counter maybe some kind of a system could be introduced whereby the purchases would be recorded and this information be made available publicly. I know this sounds harsh but I’d like to know if the people I deal with and particularly the ones I entrust my wellbeing to are on drugs and possibly under the influence when I interact / rely on them. Such a system would also probably only entice existing drug users to avail of the new purchasing system along with a few experimenters.

      Imagine that when a driver sits into their car and and turns the key the steering wheel will detect if they are under the influence of drugs and not start the engine. This kind of tech is just around the corner.

      ‘Prototype device detects drug use via fingerprints’

      If we legalise the use of drugs we must also prohibit people under the influence from doing certain things, operating all kinds of machinery, public services, generally working in any job that deals with the public.

      ‘Big Brother’ would get bigger but I don’t see any alternative if recreational drug are legalised.

      As for the criminals of all kinds and shades! Well we will always have those no matter how we try to set up society.

      • DiarmaidM

        But all of that applies to alcohol too. If someone is pissed then they should not be driving, operating machinery etc. Right now you are dealing with people who are on drugs or who use them regularly but you might not know it. I don’t see how it is much different if they are legal. Legalisation is by no means a perfect solution but if it managed to cause a massive reduction in petty crime, violent crime, prison population etc then it would be a help.

        • Truthist

          The legislation, like all legislation, should be just & helpful & “as simple & clear as possible”.
          We have too much legislation hostile on the individual, & even on entrepreneurs who wish to benefit society with jobs etc.

          A difference between Booze & Narcotics is that booze has Nutrition in it ; Calories at least.
          Some booze has Vitamins.

          Compared to users of narcotics, alcoholics can be brilliant workers.

          But, yes, mandatory testing of workers daily.
          In some situations, testing positive for alcohol will only require the worker to be denied permission from performing certain tasks for so many hours following their test result.

          Then again, for some job situations, talent for being good social drinker may be a high job requirement :
          & / or

          • “Compared to users of narcotics, alcoholics can be brilliant workers.”

            What actual experience do you have in terms of working with people under the influence of one or other of the vast continuum of drugs available, Mr. bonbon, errr sorry Mr. Truthist, to validate this assertion?

            I would agree that you are not going to get a lot of good work (I know this myself from experience) out of someone out of their brains on heroin (weak wasters) but not all drugs are the same.

            Furthermore, does something ingested have value only if it has calories or nutrition?

          • Truthist

            Dear “Original of the Species” / Adam,

            I am Truthist ;
            I am not some Mr. Bonbon.

            My statement did not refer specifically to the alcoholic being in a drunken state.
            Rather, it referred to them as persons ;
            And, my “actual experience” would be working with them immediately in the morning after their night’s heavy drinking session.
            And, I would be referring to very heavy & dangerous & skilled & expensively priced work execution.

            Millions of people around the world over many centuries have witnessed the feature of brilliant work being performed by Irish alcoholics as briefly recounted above also.

            Funnily enough, it does not seem to be the case outside of manual work.

            And, there have been many famous performances in soccer following a night of heavy boozing.

            But, do not get me wrong Adam ;
            Were I manager I would require fair & transparent drug testing for all of workforce.
            And fair & confidential testing of STDs also.
            Insurance costs alone would necessitate it.
            But, I would be primarily motivated by genuine concern for the welfare of the workers & the other stakeholders for enacting such a policy.

            Re ; Ingested Substances

            Keeping the discussion normal & polite, I would say that ingested substances should be agreeably safe ones only for the particular person


            “Pure” water is actually lethal for the person.
            It should have have a range of mineral content for to render the water safe for human intake.
            “Pure” water would suck out vital constituents of the body.

            All food has calorific content.
            Some food also has Mineral[s] & Vitamin[s].

            Some medicine has water as ingredient
            & / or
            Some medicine has nutrition ;
            Calorific & / or Mineral[s] & / or Vitamin[s]
            And some medicine has
            NO Water
            & / or
            NO Nutrition [ Calories & / or Mineral[s] & / or Vitamin[s].

            So, to answer ur question Adam, the answer is No.
            Medicine which has
            NO Water
            & / or
            NO Nutrition [ Calories & / or Mineral[s] & / or Vitamin[s].

            I was just reporting life facts Adam.
            Facts that are important considerations in what is the complications of life.
            Yes ; Life is complicated.

            And, don’t get me started on the relevance of the Bankster Scam Bundle [ B.S. Bundle ] with merits of Gold etc. & Institutional State of the Irish State [ I.S.I.S. ] with attendant highlighting of Garda-Landlord corruption to the topic of Illegal Narcotics & illegal Narcotics etc.


            I glad that u have a sense of humor.

  8. Pat Flannery

    What are the chances of getting drug legalization or any other progressive legislation introduced let alone passed in Ireland today? Probably zero. Why are we so helpless and impervious to basic logic?

    Look at the legislative history of any Dail down the years: legislation is glacially slow. The Irish people clamour for all kinds of ‘reform’ yet keep voting for the same-old-same-old party hacks over and over again. Irish voters look at party politics for what it actually is, a system of personal favours and cute hoor ‘strokes’.

    Irish political parties are consequently ill-equipped to provide basic legislation. But we must legislate before we can govern over selves. That is why we have a massive failure of government in Ireland today and it is getting worse by the day.

    Until we make the Dail a functioning legislative body we will be forced to watch the continued dysfunctionality of our national legislative body, the Dail. We are helpless only because we allow party bosses to run our legislation like corporate CEOs who care only for their company’s bottom line. What is the difference between an Irish political party and a commercial corporation? In my opinion there is none. And that includes Labor and Sinn Fein.

    And don’t blame the independents, they are currently making more sense than the party bosses. Admittedly they are most vulnerable in a premature election because they lack party resources. But I consider them the one bright spot in Irish politics today.

    • Deco

      SF are a political wing of a dodgy profit maximizing operation.

      Socialism, is just a veneer. Is the South Armagh fuel sector ideologically socialist ? Just like FG is not about law’n'order, and FF is not about giving people opportunity, and the Labour party is more concerned about those who refuse to labour.

      It is another one of these self evident truths that the Irish media refuses to state bluntly, because there is the violence in Irish society is now focussed on civil society, and not the state apparatus in NI.

      In other words, we are slowly becomming slightly Colombian.

      There is no open free conversation of dodgy behaviour. Or lack of civic values in the political parties.

  9. george

    David, your proposal deserves to be considered and debated.
    Smoking cannabis seems to be so extended, that it’s an obvious case for a possible legalisation. Cocaine and heroin seems to be, individually and socially, more dangerous drugs, and more complicated cases to deal with.
    And synthetic drugs like “ecstasy”, are very dangerous as well. Last Friday in the city of Buenos Aires, five teenagers died at a techno- dance event, after taking a synthetic drug, called “superman”, that can destroy your kidneys.
    But apart from criminal gangs, many people suspect, that there are very “respectable people”, making fortunes, that are involved in drug dealing, or indirectly in the business. And many respectable professionals around them, as well. And many enterprises and businesses, that exist, for the main purpose of laundering money, from drug dealings.
    And you did very well, to include in your article, the legal drugs that are prescribed by doctors, that also could create addiction, and in may cases, are over used by patients.
    The paradox is that if anyone grows “cannabis sativa” or the marijuana plant, just to extract the fresh juices from the leaves of it, that isn’t hallucinogenic at all, for to drink it, to treat cancer and other health problems, is committing a crime. When some people have proven, and some doctor are convinced, it is very effective for that purpose, and others, and without the need for chemotherapy or radiation.
    After reading the following article- “Learn about the amazing health benefits of juicing raw cannabis (marijuana) leaves”-, and at the bottom of it, there are two very interesting videos, anyone with an open mind, should look at it!

    • cooldude

      Very interesting George. What is really at stake here is big pharma’s complete control of our sickness/health industry. They will not allow any natural remedies and dismiss those who use them successfuly as “quacks”. This is all about the money and their complete control of all aspects of health/sickness. Modern doctors are openly bribed to prescribe big pharma’s drugs and are chucked out if they delve into any other forms of health and wellness.

      • There’s two sides to that story though. I have/had a mate whose father was a world reknowned surgeon and my mate was pressured from an early age into becoming a doctor etc. That didn’t help matters, but frankly he didn’t have the discipline and work ethic to be ever able to make it as a ‘conventional’ doctor in any case.

        So instead, he’s recently become qualified as an ‘practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine’ (Ayurveda) – spouting all sorts of unbearable tripe about ‘complementary medicine’ and the role of the ‘divine’ in medicine, plus recommending pseudoscientific remedies to people with serious illnesses.

        I had to cut him off, I couldn’t take it anymore. It’s a total scam. He’s a weak fellow and as far as I can see (and I had to listen to this nonsense for the past six years and did a good bit of my own research on it) Ayurveda is weak, gullible people preying on those who are even weaker and gullible than themselves. Shameful carry on.

        • DiarmaidM

          Agree. Sad to see people spouting such rubbish. On the flip side I see that we are about to eradicate polio from the planet. +1 for science.

          • Yeah brilliant, saw that. Those nutjobs (including my mate) would have us back in the Dark Ages.

            I do agree with cooldude though that Big Pharma is ripping off people for profit to the tune of hundreds of billions of $$ every year – they have no interest in people’s health either.

          • To be fair and balanced (like Fox News) Ayurveda has some good practices and recommendations etc. when it comes to aspects of health such as rest, diet, nutrition, exercise, meditation, social interaction and others.

            I can’t take anyone seriously though who introduces astrology, homeopathy, reincarnation and other nonsense as part of a ‘care plan’.

          • cooldude

            My view Adam is to have freedom of choice in what type of treatment you want to use. If one person trusts pharmaceutical medicine let them use. I personally stay well away from it having done much research and made an informed choice. I get daily emails (free) from http://www.mercola.com and find them very helpful and informative. Dr Mercola has a brilliant mind and is very scientific in his research.

          • Fair enough, I work out two hours a day in the gym, six days a week and eat extremely healthily – that’s my preferred medicine and I feel like a million dollars but age catches up with us all eventually. Ces’t la vie.

            If you say Mercola is scientific then that’s good enough for me cooldude. Anything is better than the nutjobs who push Ayurveda Scamfuckery – I lost a good friend to that.

      • DiarmaidM

        Marijuana is available for legal sale for medicinal use in many states in the US including the entire west coast. In other states such as Colorado it is legal for anything. “Big pharma” is not stopping its sale. Can you tell me how “Modern Doctors” are “chucked out”? I like my medical practitioners to take a scientific approach. Marijuana has been proven to help with pain relief and as a preventive for nausea in cancer patients so it should be freely available. Homoeopathy? Not so much.

      • george

        I hope you’ve watched the videos as well. The evidence seems very convincing. That lady was with forty tablets a day, suffering from lupus, all sorts of allergies, and eventually cervical cancer. And what about the baby with the brain tumours? Isn’t it amazing? The other amazing thing, is that Nature has designed us, with cannabinoids receptors.
        And although all the criticism about the American corporate structures, we’ve to recognised that most of the time, are American doctors and scientists, who are ready to challenge the status quo, and the establishment, taking great professional risks. May be because they are the sons and daughters of those, who left Europe and found the space and the individual freedom, to challenge the religious and political structures of the past.
        It’s great to see them, supporting the interest of the people, looking for alternatives, instead of the conventional way of thinking, with which some people are very unhappy. It’s great to see that there are scientists, listening and siding with individuals in that matter. And as you can see, they are organising themselves, and offering very helpful information, to people looking for alternatives, that are far away from drugs or addictions of any type. And who sometimes are unfairly denied, of something that at the end is a natural, innocuous, and beneficial product. Cheers!

  10. Mike Lucey

    Some time ago I was told about a chap in Limerick that had his house raided for drugs. The Gardai found cannabis plants and he was prosecuted.

    His defence was that his religion was Rastafari and the growing and smoking of ganja was a central part of it. The judge dismissed the case on Constitutional grounds. The chap was convincing with his loose colourful pajamas, sandals and long dreadlocks.

    I’m a Bob Marley fan and wonder if that would count ;-)

  11. ASark

    The logic and reasoning for legalising drugs (soft and hard) is so obvious that it doesn’t even need an explanation in this day-n-age. Legalised Alcohol and tobacco consumption did not eliminate alcohol and tobacco addiction – that’s not the point. Criminalising vulnerable for their addiction for whatever reasons is simply inhumane.

    The question is how we can take this discussion to an action in so-called democratic society – where can we sign a petition and force our democratically elected politicians to act on it.

    Thanks for the article David.

    • Petitions – another waste of time – what ever got achieved by them?

      No offence ASark, playing the ball here, not the man.

    • “where can we sign a petition and force our democratically elected politicians to act on it”

      Switzerland. And given the recent few referenda there, I’m not so sure that Government by petition or referendum is entirely positive.

  12. george

    A friend of mine, drinks the best whisky in the market. And he told me, that the best Irish whisky, is cheaper to buy in Spain, that it’s to do it in Ireland. True or false I don’t know.
    What I know, is that a cylinder of gas in Spain, cost around 12 euro, and here it cost close to 30 eur. And that everything in general, is cheaper over there than here. And that salaries over there, are not so high as they are here. And that infrastructure over there, is light years ahead, than here. So It seems to me very unlikely, that the Irish political establishment, is going to be able to sort the drug dilemma at all. Specially when they are facing astronomical demands, for wage increases in the Public Sector, that if given, are going to dilapidate the already bad road infrastructure and others, for years to come. And probably, it’s going to bankrupt the economy of the Country.

  13. Home Counties Girl

    Wicked article. It’s a no brainer to decriminalise drugs. David is spot on – It’s just not working. Portugal legalised the use of illicit drugs in the early noughties and it looks as though it’s paying off.
    Check out the piece below.

    • Deco


      Legalizing drugs reduces consumption. The ultimate paradox.

      I have a better suggestion. Have it all open and transparent. This person is on drugs. Let everybody know. They will be able to observe the side effects.

      Having people privately on drugs, hides the insidious psychological problems that it causes.

      • What precises mechanism do you use though to let everyone know Deco?

        And that’s a big endeavour – you’ll need an appartus for it – what would happen is a quango would be set up. Jobs for the boys.

        Again, it sounds good in theory but I think it would be open to abuse and interference.

      • Truthist

        Yes ;

        Mandatory drug testing.

        If a pattern is revealed, that person gets revealed.

        They may have to resign or be fired from their job too if being a user of drug is a danger to themselves & / or others per that job.

        Of course, alternative job[s] is/are provided.

        Lest u accept :

        ur Surgeon to be a Coke-Head ; “Let’s do triple-by-pass in super fast time.” 8-)
        ur Dentist to be a Hash-Head ; “Yeah, driling that tooth forever is cool man.” 8-)
        ur Taoiseach to be a Crack-Head ; “Yeah, baby, I promise to rig the referendum that we join N.A.T.O.”

      • Truthist

        Yes ;

        Mandatory drug testing.

        If a pattern is revealed, that person gets revealed.

        They may have to resign or be fired from their job too if being a user of drug is a danger to themselves & / or others per that job.

        Of course, alternative job[s] is/are provided.

        Lest u accept :

        ur Surgeon to be a Coke-Head ; “Let’s do triple-by-pass in super fast time.” 8-)
        ur Dentist to be a Hash-Head ; “Yeah, drilling that tooth forever is cool man.” 8-)
        ur Taoiseach to be a Crack-Head ; “Yeah, baby, I promise to rig the referendum that we join N.A.T.O.”

    • Sideshow Bob

      Home Counties Girl,

      You have it wrong. Portugal de-penalised low grade possession of all drugs, defined as 10 days worth with specific quantities. It also de-penalised being caught under the influence. If someone is caught with more than this, they are viewed as dealers and they are prosecuted. Criminal gangs still operate an the country has a high incidence of heroin addiction ( not methadone ) despite extensive support programs and strong policies de-stigmatising use.

      They still have crime and drug gangs and smuggling to other destinations, possibly more so because of extensive links to Brazil in particular and South America in general as well as proximity to Morocco.

      It is still a crime, to possess drugs just the process is different, involves a been seen by a tribunal made up of a lawyer, doctor and social worker and the most serious thing that can happen is a small fine. Normally they refer to rehabilitation and support programs providing among other things synthetic substitutes for what ever you are on . These are as an important element of the approach as any legislation.

      There is no proof that this approach is cheaper, or more economical with regard to state resources, at least that I can find.What Portugal certainly has is a very low death rate among drug users, as they are more willing to seek help at key moments.

      • Sideshow Bob

        Mike Lucey.

        Please note, from what I already wrote above;

        “What Portugal certainly has is a very low death rate among drug users, as they are more willing to seek help at key moments.”

        D McWilliams’s article deals with economic arguments not death rates, and it in terms of facts or studies is totally unsupported and has many clearly flawed assumptions and conclusions built in. Regarding your “proof” there are many more factors at play, cultural for example, and the images do not prove anything in particular nor anything to do with economic argument presented.The situation in Portugal is interesting could well be a good comparison for study but it needs that first and foremost. Portugal has gun crime gangs and a similar murder rate to Ireland so for me on the face of it using it here to support McWilliams’s thesis doesn’t hold water.

  14. coldblow

    I haven’t been commenting because, as I explained a few weeks ago, this blog is being ruined by a troll (just look at the posts) but I think David is completely wrong here.

    Is he sure that most prisoners are there for drug-related offences? I suspect that they may well use them and sell them (as well as booze and fags) but they are not inside *because* of possession of drugs, but rather for more violent crimes, or offences which are deemed as being more serious than possession of drugs. It’s just that when they are arrested for these they throw in the drugs charges while they are at it.

    If there really was a war on drugs then people wouldn’t be so casual in their use. I suspect that usage rates (at least for trying them) are higher than the official figures say. There isn’t much social disapproval (David’s articles over the years support my claim) and, if policing is anything like it is in England (as it surely is as we are slaves to best international practice), then you are pretty safe to indulge your selfish and dangerous (for mental health) habit.

    In England the war on drugs never got going, and was lost before it started early in the 70s.

    Dealing is another matter. Dealers are evil yet the users are innocent victims. (There is a parallel with so-called evil people-traffickers and their innocent migrant clients.) The drugs undergo a mysterious transubstantiation depending on who has them. The problem is that there has never been a serious attempt to suppress demand and the so-called war has been waged on supply.

    Drugs should be outlawed on moral grounds and for health reasons. There is increasing evidence that cannabis leads to devastating mental disease in some of its users. If you look at any terrorist outrage there is a good chance that the perpetrators of the mindless and savage violence are habitual drug users, usually cannabis. Look at, say, the killing of the soldier Lee Rigby (decapitated in public in broad daylight), at the would-be assassin of Wolfang Schauble or at any of the recent jihadi outrages in Europe and America.

    It has been persuasively argued that the only reason many drugs offences remain on the statute book is because of international commitments to combat the menace.

    There is a vociferous lobby, best called ‘Big Dope’, who are pushing for their legalization. You can be sure that prices will be as high as the market can bear while govt will have an interest in maximizing tax revenue. Poor desperate people will still commit crimes and wreak misery all around them to feed their habit.

    • coldblow

      Just to add that I was often sickened in the past when looking at, say, the Late Late Show, when they would be discussing the subject. The audience would always nod wisely when guests spoke of drug crime or whatever and I’d wonder what propotion of them had no qualms about keeping the gangsters in business through their own use.

    • cooldude

      Most mass murderers are addicted to prescription drugs , usually the anti depressant ones. No evidence whatsoever of any of them being addicted to cannabis. Check your facts or do you even bother with them


      • george

        Great comment, and great article!
        I always maintained that if in any crime that comes to Court, we would know the illegal and also the legal or prescribed drugs, people are taking. We would have to rethink a lot of issues, that the medical system, wouldn’t be very comfortable with.

      • That is a grim list in the attachment.

      • coldblow

        ‘Check your facts’ says Tony, who gets his from Chris Spivey!

        I was talking about terrorist attacks and I gave some examples. It happens all the time: Islamic lowlifes and their lowlife converts, dealing in drugs and taking them, try to give their lives meaning by killing innocent strangers. But you are right, anti-depressants are prominent too. You usually have to do a bit of digging to find out if drugs were involved as reports often don’t seem to think it’s relevant to find out.

        Some particularly revolting murders in America were committed by criminals high on drugs.

        By the way, I didn’t say ‘addicted’ to cannabis. Talk of addiction is an excuse really. It’s just a bad habit that needs to be discouraged.

    • Truthist

      I agree with ur argument about dangerous drugs.
      And, there is much much more should be added to what u say.

      However, u are wrong about Lee Rigby ;
      That false flag AND faked event is strictly speaking not an economics related issue.
      It was organised of a concerted campaign by the elite to fast-track a more orwellian society.
      Thus, to attribute that melodramatic AND MI5 staged event to a person addicted to cannabis is spurious.
      Please read Chris Spivey’s extensive investigation of that event on http://www.chrisspivey.org.

      Likewise, the “jihadi outrages in Europe & America” are false flags.

      As for Schauble’s attempted assassination, I do not know.
      Ur mention of it is the first that I heard of it.

      Overall, a wise man always reminds himself ;

      “There’s such divinity doth hedge a king
      That treason can but peep to what it would,
      Acts little of his will …”

      On the subject of Addiction to Drugs, it can be the case that an individual is addicted to the lifestyle involving the consumption of the drug rather than the drug itself.
      This is a very important point about all Addictions.

      Compared to Economics, the topic of Drug Abuse is definitely worthy of exploration of ur long recurring theme of “Extroverts versus Introverts”.

      • coldblow

        And as I scroll down whaddyaknow! Chris Spivey! Yes, it was a false flag staged by MI5 and the elite. Give it a rest, Tony.

        • Libelous coldblow oaf is at it again. Statements attributed are denied.
          You’r stupid enough to think I write like Truthist. ??

          But also Truthist who castigated me for lack of moral courage does not acknowledge his own creation. Speak for yourself. Own up! Take possession of your prose.

          coldblow only exists to denigrate character and put people in Pigeon Holes labeled either extrovert or introvert. Were life so simple. Why he attributes me with 3 other aliases I have no idea. Suits his idea of conspiracy perhaps.

          Be advised that coldblow is a suspect character IMO resorting to psychology in order to work out his own problems. I’ll not suggest what those problems could be but leave it to you , dear reader , to figure that out for your self.

          What a sad sack.

        • Truthist


          I told u previously that I am Truthist only.
          I am not any of the persons that u have also trolled.

          The beauty about most blogs — & this one is an example — is that u can :

          choose to ignore a particular post

          choose to ignore a particular blogger

          choose to add a post

          & most importantly, write with moral courage.
          Although, u may be vilified for it or have just silent supporters & either way find urself to be a minority of one only.
          But, hey,- have not all great ideas started with a minority of one ?

          U should apologise to all whom u have trolled.

          One of ur recurring themes “Introverts versus Extroverts” is not really relevant to an Economics blog.
          Although, arguably tenuously relevant to a Politics blog.

          David’s blog would be understood as an Economics-Politics blog.

          Following ur unabashed trolling of me, I had to point out that ur writings on “Introverts versus Extroverts” had become a stream of conscious / ramblings.
          Their relevance to the Politics element of an Economics-Politics blog were now pathetic.

          However, I did commend u for ur very useful stuff on Crotty.
          And, dear Coldblow, let me assure u this, Crotty would be very partial to what I write.
          Sometimes, u do not know with whom u are really interacting with.

          Furthermore, I tried to help u by reminding u that u should be attending to ur priority
          completing ur university degree / master’s / PhD thesis which one of ur bits of fluff “Introverts versus Extroverts” is the basis for.
          I of course meant that sincerely.
          Not in any way patronisingly.
          Not in any way exercising “Psychology” was I doing so.
          Psychology being in the main a black art.
          Rather, I gave u that reminder from the heart.

          The way things are going, u may well be depending on getting that university award for to put bread on the table.

          By the way, & as already indicated to u, I agree with much of what u say about Drugs.

          Drop the conceited Psychology / College C..nt [ Spivey parlance 8-) ] attitude.
          U are talking with Old Hands here native to the shore of Ireland.
          And not ur Enemy.

    • george

      “There is increasing evidence that cannabis leads to devastating mental disease in some of its users”

      I’m not interesting in smoking cannabis, or in promoting it. But many people had said, that the original cannabis, or the natural varieties from North Africa or India, has a mild sedative effect. I had an Indian friend, who told me, that it was common practice to smoke it, in his place in India, specially after a days work before going to bed.

      The problem with cannabis, started when scientists in the West, although clandestine ones, started to play doctor Frankenstein with genetic engineering, to increase the alkaloid in the plant and it effect in the brain of people, and messed everything in a bad way. And it brought an increase, of psychotic incidents, among many of its consumers.

      Raw “cannabis sativa” as you know, in the other hand, has many beneficial health effects.

    • I understand what you are saying for once coldblow, but in reality it just doesn’t work banning them, that’s the point.

      As Deco says, if people want to waste their lives away smoking dope all day (what a sad existence), then let them at it.

      It’s pointless criminalizing them, they’re messing up their own lives already with no need for additional help from the state.

      It’s true that cannabis exacerbates mental illness, I worked in psychiatry in London for a number of years – have seen it first hand.

      But again, it’s too difficult to stop. Divert the resources away from the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ to more useful expenditure in society that might actually incentivise people to stop burning their lives up in smoke.

      • To be clear, I don’t really care about people enjoying a joint once a week or whenever (I love a few beers myself most weekends or at least every few weekends) but if you are doing it all day every day (smoking or drinking) then you’ve got serious issues — but it’s your own problem – not the problem of the criminal justice system.

        • coldblow

          Both sides can be argued, of course. I think you really only hear one side of it, David’s, which is the received wisdom here.

          The war on drugs is misleading because there has never been one, certainly not as far as users are concerned. There really hasn’t. (It’s a bit like David’s conviction – again received opinion – that there is a huge problem with ‘obestity’. When I look around I see a few fat people, that’s all.) Think about how it has been portrayed on the screen. Rodney in Only Fools and Horses had a conviction for possession of cannabis – it’s just a joke. In the film Serpico, going back to the early 70s I think, you see the hero relaxing with a joint. Always the message is this is what the ‘regular guy’ does, but I don’t think it used to be true, though it is getting round to it now.

          I mentioned here years ago a holiday I had in Ireland in 1977. We went to the afters of a wedding in Galway and the only two people not smoking it were me and the brother. Granted, they were nearly all in their twenties (we were 19).

          Isn’t it funny all the same, they can stop drinking driving and smoking in public places but they are powerless to do anything about this?

      • Deco

        Cannabis causes Schitzophrenia and paranoia.

        Unfortunately, because the who drug taking thing is hidden in toilets, and house parties, there is no open-ness about who is taking it, and what effect it is on them.

        The entire war on drugs initiative is hiding it in the shadows.

        If it were in the open, then people would not dare touch the stuff, because they would see the effects on other people.

  15. Deco

    The biggest opponents to the proposal (and I have this from a civil servant ) are

    - the drug barons themselves (obviously),
    - the legal profession
    - the dominant booze oligopoly in Ireland.

    In that order.

    The entire drugs war is a sop to two powerful interests, and the fact that everybody is afraid of the drugs gangs.

    • Truthist

      U must also list the 2 other main vested opponents of the Narcotics-Pro. Class-Institutional Complex :

      the “personal lopsided …ology part of Philosophy”

      the “pseudo part of Physicianship / Medicine”

      Both of these stakeholders have been :

      major initiators of legal narcotics & illegal narcotics to their clients / patients / captives

      major vocal articulate obstructors to the truth-telling about the
      Narcotics-Pro. Class-Institutional Complex

      And, they steal even more income from supposably fix the mess than the lawyers do.

  16. Good article David

    IMHO All drugs should be legalized. As discussed, I believe it would eradicate the crime cartel, money laundering, most crime except the wall street central banker financial stuff, and accidental overdose problems.

    It should not be abandoned by government as drugs and misuse and overdose, is still a societal problem.

    Implement government licensed drug stores where the market demands what is available. License suppliers with guaranteed quality products, at prices set by market demand, which would generally be much cheaper.

    Place counselling centers adjacent to the stores where anyone with a problem of addiction can receive advice and of course have available medical programs of detoxification.

    The whole program can be funded with the reduction in costs of the legal, judicial, penitentiary and policing that currently take place.

    As Adam says it is all about personal responsibility. But I have been told about several young wholesome people who in the party scene were plied with illicit drugs and took an accidental OD. That alone is enough for me to change the law.

  17. Deco

    If you want to end drug taking in Ireland, put a state quango in charge of promoting and selling drugs. Stuff the baords with political party appointees, IBEC chancers, and SIPTU/ICTU careerists. Put a celebrity in charge.

    And allow the drug taking to be in the open.

    I mean what could be more daft than somebody under a haze of smoke talking utter jibberish ?

    Have drug taking in the open. So that everybody can see how pathetic it is, as a form of human endeavour.

    Let everybody know who on their estate is on drugs. Gradually over the medium term people will opt to avoid that choice.

    Prohibition actually gives it credibility.

    • Truthist

      That is a novel idea.

      And, it would work.

    • “Let everybody know who on their estate is on drugs.”

      It wouldn’t work – as Mike Lucey mentioned earlier – a Big Brother type appartus would evolve (or would need to evolve).

      Not going to happen and I don’t want the state sticking their noses into every aspect of my business, they try hard enough as it is.

    • Tony

      Deco, you make a great point about how pathetic it can be seen to be when it’s out in the open. I’ll be literal here.

      I lived in Australia for a while in 1989. One Sunday while waiting for a commuter train into Sydney, my friends and I witnessed a guy stagger out of the platform toilet. He was well dressed and clean (to a point), with a small haversack hanging off his shoulder. He struggled to walk and seemed to fall into each stride.

      In his right hand he held a syringe that seemed over-sized. His left arm had a heavy stream of blood running down to his hand and dripping on the platform. His jeans were hanging off his waist, and the back of them, from the waistband down, was covered in shit. The front of his shirt was soaked in puke. He staggered around in ever increasing circles, barely staying on his feet, moaning about something or other.

      At first there was an audible reaction of horror from other people on the platform, but this turned to pity from some, and disgust from others. One of my friends simply said “Pathetic”.

      27 years later, I see it like it was yesterday. I’ve got 2 kids under 12. While something like that would be horrible for them to see, I have a feeling I wouldn’t need to worry about them using drugs in the future if they did.

  18. Deco

    Ireland’s drug war has failed the people.

    But the legal profession has won. In fact, I reckon if drugs war ended, and the laws were changed to make cannibis legal, and the others illegal, the legal profession would turn very nasty indeed.

    The legal profession do not want any laws that weaken their gatekeeper role in society.

    • Truthist

      The Psychology & Psychiatry racket scores even more than the Legal Profession on the back of the Drug Menace.

      And, the Psychologists & Psychiatrists are useless also for to fix the problem.

      Just like the Legal Profession, the lopsided practitioners of philosophy [ Psychologists ] & the pseudo-physicians [ Psychiatrists ] know ;

      “There is Money in Dirt.”

      All of them are Entrepreneurs.

  19. Truthist

    Making “Hypocrisy” a criminal offense would help to solve all of society’s problems.

    We need to remove the Masks of Deception.

    Meanwhile, do not put ur trust in other people.
    If Jean Paul Satre said anything worthwhile he was correct about this ;

    “Other people are hell.”

    Underneath all addictions — yes ALL addictions — is the addiction to people.

    This “Addiction to People” phenomena is responsible for most activities in an economy also ;
    Yet, some of these activities can have positive implications.

    A simple & peaceful life would be more beneficial for each & every person.
    But, it would not have high economic turnover.
    Then again, it would not have high economic costs.

  20. Deco

    James Howard Kunstler (his site at http://www.kunstler.com is well worth a view) gave his insight on this once.

    He was asked to give a speech at a rather well meaning, sophisticated, and thoroghly political correct New England third level college.

    And he was asked what would he do about the poor.

    Kunstler’s suggestion was “give them cocaine”.

    There were gasps. Everybody was in shock. Presumably including some of the students who were on it themselves.

    He got an immediate PC response.

    Too which Kunstler, perceptively replied – what the system is giving poor people now is just as addictive, just as debilitating, and just as destructive.

    Everybody was stunned.

    He point was this; “something for nothing” is a major cultural problem in TV-advertising led consumerist societies. And it is pervasive. And it makes people weaker, and less honest, and ultimately more likely to buy into all sorts of frauds.

    In effect, the institutional state has already been preparing poor people for a life of submission to an illusion.

    An interesting thought, eh ?

  21. joe hack

    HSBC would not be pleased nor would those running the drug business in Afghanistan the USA… The Taliban they were a good drug squad they were prohibiting the banker’s from getting a cut… Like you say it didn’t work the drug dealers moved in to Afghanistan again a tax by another name this is a tax by one major drug dealer on all “sovereign” nations… TPP…

  22. Deco

    We have a set of societal norms that are highly illusional, and pretence based.

    A system of government that promises change, and that engages in sending public moneys to political backers, and state welfar recipients like the banks, and the unions in IW. And which inherently loves making people addicted to political parties.

    A financial system that is driven by an obsession with getting “high”. [ the film "wolf of Wall Street" is not as fictional as people believe - the investment sector is loaded up with cocaine addicted testosterone fuelled pups that are lying to both regulators and their own sharesholders ].

    And a media complex, whose entire function is to prop up an illusion, and to manipulate the public into a comatose state of acqueiscence.

    • Deco

      No wonder there is so much substance addiction.

      The public includes many who minds have already been scuplted by the rich and powerful, and by their organs, to be ready for addiction.

      In fact, with so many in a pre-addictional state, it should be small wonder that there is so much drug talking.

      • Truthist

        Yes, the social engineers endeavour to have us all in pre-addictional state.

        And, there are many types of Addiction.

        The Marquis de Sade agreed on that.

        In fact, there is always a new type of addiction to be discovered.

        So, most of us should not really be looking our noses down on the narcotic substance abusers ;
        Because, most of us are junkies too.
        And, a Junkie to look down on other Junkies is an offence that should be criminal,

        Anyway, it is the rich bohemian lot who use narcotics first.
        Then the lower classes copy them.

  23. Truthist

    Some of the very richest of Irish business people have been involved in illegal narcotics large scale importation into the Irish State.


    arguably the richest business from the local shore ;
    Although, this particular individual does not appear on the Rich Lists per Ireland.
    Ain’t that interesting.
    They have taken up residence in a foreign shore over quite a while, but “legit.” business syndicate is one hell of an operation.
    The Drug Squad would well know whom I am referring to.

    And, they have had proxies “do porridge” for them when a big consignment got caught.
    Oh Golly !

    If illegal drugs were legalised, the criminal minds would be constantly fighting to gain their slice of that scene too.
    An insatiable Vertical Market is the very best market to have as customer base.
    But, only a person of low morals would try to profit on human destruction.

    Total & relevant & meaningful Truth-Seeking & Truth-Telling would quickly solve the Drug problem,


    Legal Highs, & Legal Downers, & Legal Distractors
    Prescribed Anti-Anxiety Medication
    Prescribed Anti-Depression Medication

    Illegal Highs, & Illegal Downers, & Illegal Distractors
    Soft Narcotics
    Hard Narcotics

    As stated above, the criminalisation of the offence of Hypocrisy would be the king-pin solution to this problem & all others.

    • Truthist

      Yes, arguably the richest Irish businessman of the last 30 years was involved in at least 1 very large importation of narcotics into the Irish State.
      A consignment was apprehended by Customs & the Drug Squad.

      A rich & prominent goofer / middle man “did porridge” for Mr. Syndicate.

      Oh Golly !


      This Mr. Syndicate would be not known to the vast bulk of the pseudo-intelligentsia that comprise the chatter of the media [ print, voice, & internet ].

      He & his biz. family have always sought to be “under the radar”.

      But, their legit. biz. activities extend into the land far beyond its base of operations.
      They are super landlords.

      In fact, the syndicate is now very embedded officially with the State.
      Fancy that.

      They are Banksters too of course.

      And, they control an incredibly large property empire.

      Obviously, the top tier of biz people in Ireland would be able to tell u exactly who that special biz person is on reference alone to that failed importation of narcotics.
      If they do not tell u ;
      ==> u are talking to a coy one or more.

  24. The same international drug runners engineered the Panama Papers leak.

    “The mainstream media is habitually blasé about what’s taking place and the way the global regime is growing – quickly and powerfully.”

    There is no privacy now unless you are a member of the elite cartel.


  25. survivalist

    It is not surprising that business is interested in the colossal revenue generated by illicit drug use. Yet the economic justification is not compelling.
    The sale, development, advertising and promoting of illicit drugs managed by a for-profit corporation is not immediately obvious as an improvement on the present situation.
    I imagine R+D and the push from above for ever more addictive…err… no…popular ‘products’. Delivering what the consumer wants…oblivion?
    The arguments used to promote the case for legalizing drugs are well worn and firmly implanted in the public psyche. We are all superficially familiar with these for-decriminalizing drugs sound-bites.
    We hear concerns as to a person’s rights to control of his/her own body, the effects on crime and crime rates, the health benefits and the effect of legislation on rates of consumption etc.
    However despite our comfort with these placations none of the arguments as to the legalizing of illicit drugs are ‘settled’.
    In the minds of many people there is the assumption that in Switzerland, Holland and Portugal etc. the decriminalizing policies were outstanding successes at reducing use, harm crime etc. and therefore we should adopt them. It is not so
    We need to be aware that this is not simply to say that the opposition have a different point of view, but rather the facts of the debate on the questions as to whether legalizing use; actually results in increases or decreases of use, results in more or less crime, promotes or harms community and personal safety etc. are not settled.
    That legislating for or against drug use, increases or decreases use, is a contested fact and the causal relationship is not established.
    Consider that legalised drugs far outweigh the illicit drugs in terms of consumption and acceptability.
    Low use of illegal drugs is the success of prohibition controls world-wide.
    Perhaps the most well received ideal promoting drug use is the ‘harm reduction’ or ‘harm minimization’ philosophy.
    As popularly received as it is this approach has been shown to have been an abject failure.
    To anyone interested in the read these are some of the findings from a review titled ‘30 Years of Harm Minimisation – How Far Have We Come?’ completed in 2015 and is relevant to Australia.
    In my opinion what is newly emerging is the overt will to directly profiting from legalized illicit drug use and its consequences. Coincidentally research emerges as to the positive effects once illicit drugs and the ‘failure’ of Government policies and traditional intolerance against drug use.
    That this ideal could be supported by the public can be expected if the promotion campaign gets going-sections of the public are quite pliable.
    The financialization and economic profit justification of and for everything continues.

    • “Delivering what the consumer wants…oblivion?”

      This sentence is not correct – it needn’t necessarily be ‘oblivion’ that is the aim of the casual drug taker. You’re looking at the worst case scenario there – for mostly desperate people – or at least people with some kind of issue/s – whether temporary or permanent.

      You could have people who want a four hour buzz on a Saturday night without having to drink a gallon of beer or vodka (and the liver damage and calories involved etc.) – with their senses still about them (relatively) but suffering no major health implications and no insomnia, hangover etc. and still be a ‘productive member of society’ (whatever the hell that is) on the next day – it’s emminently possible that some kind of synthetic (or natural) ‘recreational’ drug like that could be developed so where would be the harm in that? Devil’s Advocate question that.

      Wouldn’t this option be better than a massive alcohol binge with all the attendant issues that come with that?

      Frequent visitors (I retired some years ago apart for rare occasions) to nightclubs (and similar places) where people are off their heads on one pill or another will tell you that those indviduals are invariably more tolerable than the mindless drunk, falling around all over the place, vomiting and fighting and not remembering a single thing when the morning after the night before arrives.

      So stick that in your joint and smoke it.

  26. This raw track from the Sleaford Mods as seen on the highly rated Jools Holland show has more depth to it than you would think on first hearing it.


    He’s basically singing about ‘alienation’ of workers in modern society as defined by Karl Marx.

    Drugs are in the mix too.

    These issues require serious thought lads (and lassies).

  27. Truthist

    Of course, the overall dominant players of the international narcotics trade also control :

    Print Media
    TV Media
    Hollywood Media
    Internet Social Media
    Central Banking
    Commercial Banking
    All the “..ologies” of Academia
    Military Industrial Complex
    Security Industry
    the Business of Sport
    Oil brokering etc. ; Always remind oneself of “The Seven Sisters”
    World Politicians
    And the field of Economics 8-)
    Economics Schools of Thought in the main
    World Bank
    The Suppression of Gold Pricing through regular “shorting”

    inter alia

    A representative sample of highly educated Chinese will tell u who.
    And, it ain’t the Chinese.

  28. One of the greatest ever Reggae concerts in history and Lucky Dube (RIP) wasn’t even from the Caribbean (considering that’s where Reggae was created – quite by accident I might add, like most things) which is quite ironic – just shows you how there’s really no difference between people at all – we all have the same concerns.

    Freedom being number one:


  29. Pat Flannery

    As we await the white smoke from the grimy chimney pots of Kildare Street will the new government be different from all of those since 1922? Probably not because we are still locked within the grip of the 1922 Government of Ireland Act, even though that Act was nominally repealed by the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

    The British-imposed 1922 Government of Ireland Act created a parliamentary form of government modelled on the British system. If we had been free to choose our own form of government we would probably have chosen to separate the powers of the legislature from the executive as in a true republic. What we have now is a hybrid system. We are nominally a republic operating a parliamentary system of government that presupposes a monarch i.e. we are a republic operating a constitutional monarchy form of government.

    The current efforts to form a government is hampered by that legacy. It is clear that the Dail was a constitutional dictatorship in the past and that it suited both major parties for it to remain so, provided one of them could achieve an overall majority, either directly or by bribing a smaller party to join them. That is unlikely to ever happen again, unless we go back to the British electoral system of ‘first-past-the-post’, which incidentally De Valera attempted to do but failed.

    There is a lot of political work to be done here in Ireland and looking to Britain for guidance is to look backwards rather than forward. Let’s hope the present crop of county-councillors-made-TDs understand the enormous task before them. I think they will need help from We the People.

  30. goldbug
















    • Deco

      We all agree that drugs cause enormous harm to people’s health.

      They also cause enormous harm to other people, because of the delusions bieng caused, that cause other people to suffer.

      Tobacco being the exception – did you every hear of a woman battered because her husband had just consumed 10 cigarettes ?

      I think it might be a good idea, to have a state quango responsible for providing mind altering substances. If an individual buys, they effectively fill out a form saying that it is for personal use. And that they are agreeing to take responsibility for the consequences.

      They will consent to opt out of free public healthcare.

      If you wish to pay for health insurance, that is their own business.

      Effectively, decriminalize it, and then have it regulated.

      And let the public see people on drugs in public, to see the damage that is being done. Having it hidden, causes a lack of clear information as to the consequences.

      In the medium term the level of consumption will decrease. Some addicts will die sooner than without drugs. And in their place healthier people will take note, and keep away from the same dangerous substances.

      The current approach is not working. It demands a rethink.

      • “Tobacco being the exception – did you every hear of a woman battered because her husband had just consumed 10 cigarettes?”

        Passive smoking Deco – cigarette smokers are the most pathetic junkies ever.

        Still, if that’s what they want to do with their lives, good luck to them – just not around me or my kids.

        • Deco

          I agree. Tobacco is toxic.

          20 years from now the biggest problem in the HSE will be dealing with people who have heart problems due to cocaine/heroin, brain damage due to marajuana, and cancer due to crystal meth.

          Presumably at that point in time the HSE will be trying to inform people as to the dangers of these substances.

          There is an entire wing in a hospital (I think it is Cherry Orchard) that is full of people who were on ecstasy tablets in the 1990s. Their brains are fried. There are 200 people in it.

          Presumably, in typical gombeenist mode, there will be no public commentary about this for fear of stigmatizing the people who caused themselves enormous harm.

          And as a result the process of cuasing self-harm will continue.

          I think that we should be far more open about all of these things.

          • “There is an entire wing in a hospital (I think it is Cherry Orchard) that is full of people who were on ecstasy tablets in the 1990s. Their brains are fried. There are 200 people in it.”

            Wow, never heard of that.

      • Ok the registration idea is not a bad one, fair enough.

        But you being the hater of all things quango Deco (and rightly so), I’m just surprised that you are recommending one in this case.

        I can see scope for all sorts of shenanigans in that kind of quango given its nature in addition to all the usual crap that goes on in Ireland in any quango.

        It would be the most controversial quango ever.

        • Yeah and what would happen with the registration idea is that people who didn’t want to appear on it would continue to buy their drugs off illegal suppliers so you are straight back to square one.

          • Mike Lucey

            Adam, Yep there would be some folks that would not go through the system that Deco suggests but they would be reasonably intelligent and well heeled so not inclined to rob and steal at least in the breaking a door or window fashion!

            There is technology (camera) being developed that will be able to determine if a person is on drugs as they walk down the street. Its all in the eyes!

            The State will be able to record and store all this information and use it as it sees fit.

            And before anyone suggests sunglasses, they won’t work ;-)

  31. Grzegorz Kolodziej

    My opinion on that is split. On the one hand, all kind of drugs were fully legal in 19th century (Prime Minister Gladstone used to add opium to his tea and he would then go on with his speech for hours like Fidel Castro).
    And when Niamh (nice name) says “do you think that the criminal gangs who currently supply drugs are just going to retire because their market is gone?”, one has to say that they won’t retire of course, but then Adam is on the ball with his remark that they would make less money.

    Much less, I’d like to add – you can profit two hundred fold by smuggling hard drugs from the golden triangle into Europe. I dare say that this would take most gangs of the business, because it may turn out that with legalised drugs, if the profit was say 100pc, they might be better off opening a restaurant ;-)

    But this is from economic point of view.
    From the health-of-the-nation point of view I must fully agree with Coldblow.

    Also, when Truthist says,

    “A difference between Booze & Narcotics is that booze has Nutrition in it ; Calories at least.
    Some booze has Vitamins.
    Compared to users of narcotics, alcoholics can be brilliant workers.”

    Well, I have never known or heard of any chess master, for example, who would have been using marihuana while preparing and playing, so there must be something to it.
    Most people I knew in college who had been smoking ganja on a regular basis, their memory was shit and getting progressively worse (I don’t exclude other factors, but…).

    And it’s worth listening to this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkdpPG0eSkc (the real purpose of drugs)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2GjY8DN-7I (drugs as the way to make population more malleable).

    Last but not least – would Dublin be not a much greater city without drug junkies bothering passers-by?

    • Deco

      The problem is now literally unavoidable. And it is no longer just a Dublin problem.

      If you want to tackle hardcore homelessness, rethink the entire substance abuse problem, the labour market, the housing market, and the welfare system.

      Both provide incentivization to reduce the level of independence that people seek.

      The dole does not keep people unemployed. The cost of housing, in a manipulated market, with artificial shortages, and absurd planning densities in our “urban” areas, cause the homelessness problem. There simply are no houses on the market.

  32. Truthist

    And, it must have been a type-setting error that gave people the wrongful impression that it has been in the main ;
    War “on” Drugs by the so-called West.

    Because, it really has been in the main ;
    War “for” Drugs by the so-called West.

    Here get a dose of this ;
    Inhale slowly.
    Caution baby !
    The truth can cause Ewes to wake up.
    And, that would mean Ewes have to drop all ur misconceptions.
    Just like the vulgar Junkies must wake up someday to finally stop what they are doing wrongly.

    Here Ewes are ;
    The very birth of the Heroin problems that is sweeping Ireland like a plague.

    By the way, are Ewes wondering if the Garda-Landlords as a block are on the take to ignore it ?
    Bar the Drug Squad who may be sincere of course.

    Search Terms ;

    sassoon AND opium AND china

    Sassoon was from Baghdad, Iraq.
    But, don’t Ewes be getting arab-phobic & / islamaphobic again, mind.


  33. War is Fueled by Junk Economics

    That is an interesting caption. If I am correct the first war of that kind that I am aware of is the Opium Wars in China . This was initiated by royal charter ( Queen Victoria ) and carried out by an Irishman General Hugh Gough from Limerick who also assisted the Duke of Wellington defeat Napoleon.His homestead is next to UL University Campus and remains an unsung hero in his local city of Limerick despite his prestigious status and statues in Hong Kong that he claimed for the Queen.
    His last place of owner / residence is now the Raddisson Hotel in South Dublin.

    He sold the junk ( opium from India ) to the Chinese for hard cash at a time Britain had none.

    • Truthist

      Naw / Nope / No / Nay / … / Ni h’ea 8-)

      Gough did NOT sell the junk / opium from India to the Chinese.

      Sasoon did.

      But, Gough was as Henry Kissinger would put it purely a military man in the scheme of things ;

      “Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy.”
      Kissinger, Henry

    • Hoggie

      The British wanted a balance of trade with China as they were running a deficit so they flooded China with opium. When the Chinese Emperor tried to stop the trade the British started the war. It was not a war on drugs it was all about what was best for British industrialists.

      • Truthist

        Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

        Blaming it all on the aul Brits ;
        Lazy & intellectually dishonest per this specific matter.

        Did u read the Google results provided for u in the link above ?

        Do so now ! Pronto !


        • Hoggie

          Fair enough, Sassoon sold the opium but the British enabled him to do so through military action.

          • Truthist


            And, sincere thanks Hoggie for reading the Links that Google offered up for search terms ;

            Sassoon AND Opium AND China



        • Truthist

          Sorry folks.

          My 2 posts posted immediately before this post — see #”Truthist April 20, 2016 at 11:47 pm” & #”Truthist
          April 21, 2016 at 12:06″ below — are in reference to the above Link.

          I did not know that they were being sent as separate posts.

          That link is one hell of a link.

          Vital & gripping information.

          If u are on the ball ;
          ==> u even receive a handle on who the leaders of China really are, & who runs the show there.

          That is a Biz Lesson for u that they will never teach u in university ;
          Even not in a Chinese Programme.

  34. Truthist

    The time has come for the entire world to condemn the British colonial masters and these …ish “merchants” for their evil crimes of forcing opium by the shiploads onto the Chinese.

    By all accounts, the …ish opium merchants did not take NO for an answer, but instead used the violent power of the British military to kill all of the ‘uppity’ Chinese who dared to refuse the opium.

    These were “command performances”, persisted in until addiction took over.
    See the accompanying photo.

  35. New election will give a chance to give the finger to the mainline parties and go independent or DDI


    Deputy PM says prepare for second elections: The Irish Times cited acting Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton, who warned her Labour Party members to be ready for a second election as talks on the formation of government remain deadlocked over water charges. The article cited a letter to members, in which Burton said the party general secretary was making provision for an election and had been in touch with candidates in recent days. —Lemetropolecafe.com

  36. Prohibition did not work in the past and still doesn’t.

    From Dollar Vigilante

    The Memory Hole
    Redmond Weissenberger
    Not a day goes by that we’re not told about
    the need for the state to levy heavy
    restrictions upon our rights and freedoms.
    Correction: MORE heavy restrictions upon
    our rights and freedoms. The nanny state
    continues to force its will into our everyday
    lives, its flawed hand dictating how the
    sheeple live day­to­day.
    In Chicago, the city is under siege. The
    murder rate in the city is as high as it has
    been in recent memory, with already 170
    homicides this year, well above the norm.
    As Breitbart reports:
    …homicides in Chicago were up 100 percent January 1 to February 22, 2016, compared to the same
    time frame in 2015. The Chicago Tribune reported that there were 47 homicides January 1 to
    February 22, 2015, and “at least 95” during that same period this year.
    Moreover, in one 24­hour period in March, approximately 21 people were shot and wounded in
    Chicago, another person was stabbed, and one was killed.
    Now, the Chicago Tribune reports there have been 862 shooting victims between January 1 and
    April 14, 2016, alone. As of now, this means gun­controlled Chicago is on track for another year of
    nearly 3,000 shooting victims? there were 2,988 such victims last year.
    And all of this despite Chicago’s assault weapon ban and “violence tax”, efforts to curb crime through flawed
    legislation, akin to reducing drownings by banning swimming, or cutting back on heart problems by
    outlawing McDonald’s. Time and time again this methodology is proved wrong, and yet time and time again,
    legislators try to better the world by controlling the citizenry.
    Chicago will reach 200 gun deaths by mid­summer. When will gun­control lobbyists and proponents admit
    their folly and try more ambitious and informed ways of lowering the crime rate, like, I don’t know, not
    taxing everyone to death or… actually, just start there.

  37. Truthist

    The Photo ;

    A “command performance” – Chinese middle and upper class forced at gunpoint to smoke the Sassoon’s opium.
    The guns being conveniently provided by the British military.

    Why did our learned “Betters” — Sir Garret Fitzgerald, Lord Peter Sutherland [ "Suds" ], Europhilic Symbol Dick Roche, Mary “Head Shops” Harney, the Senior Civil Servants, & the Pseudo-Academics of our Universities’ History Departments, et all — deny the school children knowledge of the main true facts of the euphemistically called “Boxer Revolution of China” when this subject is thought in the history curriculum given that the true facts would be enough to deter a great many of likely heroin addicts from trying any drugs ?

  38. Wot no new article today?!

  39. Truthist

    Wake up ! Wake up ! Wake up !

    Wake up all yee’s Junkies of Chomsky, Stiglitz, Larry Sanders, Donald Trump, & all other decoys from what the real truth ;

    Cold Turkey in the form of “Bail-ins” coming ur way soon ;


    Excerpt ;

    Entering into 2016, all members of the European Union (EU) were required by law to have bail-in legislation on their books in preparation for the next potential crisis that in previous times would have resulted in a taxpayer funded bailout…

    And on April 10 2016, it appears that these new rules have come not a moment too soon as Austria is to become the 1st European state to implement a bail-in as it induces the new policy on the failed Hypo Alpe Adria (bank), which is known today as the Heta Asset Resolution AG when it was nationalized by the Austrian government 6 years ago.

    Initially, a haircut of 54% will be implemented against senior creditors that could take upwards of 6 years to finalize the process and payouts to the debt holders.

    The significance of today’s bail-in act out of Austria is that it is the 1st of its kind in the Eurozone, and opens the door for future bailouts in a banking system that is extremely underfunded due to derivative and liquidity issues… Because now more than ever, it appears now that these new rules will be needed quickly for a financial crisis that could be just around the corner.

    And, here ;


    And, of course, more here ;


    I knew of it since 7 days ago ;
    Did not report it as exclusive lest I steal the thunder from someone else.
    Ah well, finally had to assume command.

    Also, was taken up very much with the narcotics discussion.
    David should regularly open up that whole topic for it to be enhanced with more truth-seeking & truth-telling.
    The country is going down the tubes even more because of the exponential growth of the hard-drugs problem.

    Apologies for my dramatic style in advance 8-)

    But, vital to warn yee ;
    Get ur Fiat Currency out of the Irish Banks as discreetly, & as fast, as yee can.

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