Waving not Drowing: Ganja in Eire

Waving not Drowing: Ganja in Eire



Celebration and excessive binges have been part of the human experience since Adam first gave Eve a sip of that sweet apple-infused home brew.

In Ireland today, drink companies sponsor most major music events and seduce the youth with alcopops and the government tax the lot while simultaneously spending kazillions of euros on drink awareness campaigns and rehabilitative programmes for those who swim through life in a drunken stupor.

I live in Galway. Many people visit here for stag or hen festivities. The pre-nuptial blow out unites friends who get pissed to spend the night screaming and dancing then follow up with a feast of fast food. Scattered polystyrene packaging breezes around the streets as the visitors leave their hostels to board buses long after sunrise the next day, bleary eyed and satisfied that they had a great time. The Wesht is awake—whoohoo, some session, some craic!

On Sundays families sidestep the topic of Johnny’s alcoholism. Seduced by succulent aromas of roasting meat, nostalgic noses fill with longing, while outside the streets heave with pub hunters. Some will drink until they drop. Or pass out. They are to be found sprawled across cold riverside concrete like fallen warriors on a battlefield. Across the city the local hospital clogs up with casualties in a never-ending cycle of drink-related drama.

Yes, it sure is party central here if that’s your thing. Then again, if that’s your thing, isn’t everywhere?

As well as being inhabited by some of the kindest, most creative, eloquent, talented people on earth (and that’s just the Irish), Eire is also home to a huge population of addicts.

Addiction is defined by the Oxford English dictionary as “being physically dependent on a particular substance”, and more informally as being “devoted to a particular interest or activity”.


Chocolate, coffee, cocaine, tea, sex, sugar, work, worry, alcohol, cannabis, jogging, yoga, ecstasy, speed, heroin, nail biting, shopping, cyberspace activity… the list goes on. Suspend judgement for a moment and consider that word.  Addiction. Now, consider the socially-accepted triad of tea, coffee and cigarettes. Sold everywhere, available to us in various doses and qualities, yet all legal and lethal in excessive doses.

Which one is your favourite, and have you tried to stop consuming it recently? How does it feel to withdraw, to come down, to detox, to go without, to say no, to choose an alternative?

Headaches, sweating, mood swings, decreased appetite, strange sleeping patterns, increased appetite, crazy cravings, niggling pains in muscles that feel as though they have been dormant since the early nineties… yep, no doubt about it dear reader—your body, your mind—maybe both—are addicted!

Use, misuse, abuse, suffering, detox, healing. Use, misuse… Will I repeat the loop or change the record? That is the question each must answer. Or not. You can stop anytime, right? It’s simple, but it’s not easy.

For those brave enough to instigate change, detox is often followed by a welcome aftermath of peace, feelings of lightness and freedom, elation even, that yes—yes!—it IS possible to throw away whatever crutch it is one leans on and walk unassisted.

Some people are addicts and hurt nobody but themselves.

They get through life just fine, once they are left alone to consume whatever they choose to daily without any interference. Grouchy before morning coffee, moody without marijuana, suffering minus sugar… but the world keeps spinning.

At a more intense level, habits can prevent people from reaching their full potential. Their pattern is to sabotage opportunities and they remain stunted instead of spiralling, forever tempted by tastes of escape.

Others are well and truly hooked. Their dependency steals their souls in the twilight, they exist as a Zombie shell of who they once were and are about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. These addicts will lie, steal, beg or borrow. They will take from anyone, anywhere, anytime to score. They exist in an eternal state of dark torment. Life is no longer a gift because they have become emotionally numb, far far removed from their hearts and minds. They cannot control their behaviour and keep hurting themselves and everyone around them. They are the walking dead, ruled by craving with a capital C. And they are people too, just like you and me, our brothers and sisters.

So it is.

Drug use. Misuse. Abuse. It’s here, there and everywhere.

Thankfully light always shines through to balance the dark. In Ireland there are ample supports for anyone who wants to heal their addictions. The country is in transition from a “nothing wrong, nothing to see here” attitude to one of honest assessment and acceptance. Obviously it’s high time (oops) to focus on solutions, early intervention and alternatives.

N.U.I’s students are wide awake in all this. They know that the quest for excitement, entertainment and distraction through drugs is ancient. They also realise that excessive consumption is detrimental to health and well-being and leads to all sorts of trouble, especially when THE gateway drug, alcohol, is present.

Recently a motion was brought before the Dáil to legalise cannabis, and soon after the university group devoted to Sensible Drug Use hosted a talk in N.U.I. featuring Doug Fine, an American father and farmer.

On tour to promote his latest book “Too high to fail”, Doug has devoted much of his life to working to legalise cannabis in the United States.

The author spoke with energy and passion for a long time. His presentation was made all the more interesting by visuals documenting the story of weed in America.

He touched on many topics: prohibition nonsense, challenging the law, campaigning, common sense, medical case studies and the eventual legalisation of the marijuana crop throughout the United States. The audience were inspired by expert organic growing advice and anecdotal evidence related to growing, regulation, quality control, economic benefits, consumer choice, the merits of prohibiting under 18s from buying weed in any form and the use of the Mary Jane as miracle plant medicine.

Also present was Michelle, founder of the Mambo Social Club in Belgium (www.mambosocialclub.be). It’s legal in Belgium to have one plant per person. A good start, although one plant is limiting, especially for someone wanting to make tinctures, for example. A book could be written on Michelle’s experiences as a ganja expert and activist—he has been learning, educating and sharing knowledge for many years through Mambo, which is a not-for-profit venture.

There are so many people around the world who devote their lives to positive change, but what’s going on here?

Cartel-driven greed and fear, that’s what. And plenty of it. In Ireland, the illegal status of marijuana not only reduces herb quality for consumers, it also increases prices, keeps growers and dealers in a constant state of angst, creates drug wars and cartels, and most criminal of all, denies natural medicine to those with cancer, aids, MS, fibromyalgia, insomnia and a myriad of other illnesses.

Legal cannabis cultivation reaps rewards on many levels, so how can it be forbidden by our “rulers”?

It has been in use for 10,000 years by humans and nobody has ever died from it.

Its active ingredients are amazing. There are 90 known cannabinoids, and trichomes (crystals) which have healing properties and are extracted from the flowers of the psychoactive female plants.

One strain is an anti-spasm. It eases the symptoms of epilepsy, reduces cancerous tumours and lulls the body into a state of deep relaxation. Ganja can cause “the munchies”, great for anyone who loses their appetite because of sickness. It is recommended to liver cancer patients because their weight drops considerably. It reduces or eliminates pain and induces sleep.

Ganja is used by people from all walks of life—musicians, artists, poets, preachers, teachers, seers, police and thieves.

Media manipulation, lies spun by healthcare companies (legal multinational synthetic drug dealers), governments and advertising is nothing new. The truth remains however—cannabis and other plants have been gifted to us and are here for a reason.

Keeping a plant illegal in this country denies everyone choice and we ARE free to choose.

Here are three facts that the drug companies and alcohol-pushers of the world will not tell you:

– Youth use of cannabis decreases worldwide when it is legal.

– Roads are safer when people substitute cannabis for alcohol.

– Violence is not caused by cannabis use.

Controlling plants and herbs that have always been used as medicine is just wrong. Those who do so are concerned with money, control and perceived power, not healing or creativity.

The future of cannabis is consumption at just the right dose to retain lucidity while gaining all the benefits through vaporisers, edibles and tinctures. The latter uses a lot of plants, so “being allowed” to grow one or two plants is not going to be enough for many people.

Farmers in California, for example, are allowed to grow 177 plants so they can grow from seed and not depend on clones. In this way they are involved in the whole crop and can ensure the best of care, discover how many plants are female as they grow, and discard the rest.

In Alaska and Oregon, growers use leftover cellulose from stocks as energy instead of oil.  As a sustainable crop, marijuana and hemp makes huge economic sense.

The plant has a ten month cycle and needs to be kept out of the rain, in a greenhouse or polytunnel so as to avoid flower mould. It is an ideal crop for the Irish climate.

So the current question is how can a government dare deny people access to the world’s most wonderful weed? Conversely, many of its own members use it, so why are they being such cowards in admitting so? And how can they be so hypocritical as to block a motion to decriminalise it? They know there is nothing wrong with using this most sacred of plants (in moderation), and the sooner it is freely available, the better off our society will be. For too long we have been ruled and fooled. Concede to weed, permit planting, legalise it now.

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