Cannabis, medicine and the law

 

Sir, – Many of your readers are aware of the arguments for and against the legalisation of cannabis.

What many of your readers will not be aware of is why the liberalisation of cannabis law suddenly seems to have become a national political priority for Ireland.

As someone working on the frontline with addicts, it certainly has been a surprise to me.

The letter from 14 “drug policy experts” to The Irish Times on June 7th was particularly puzzling: what interest could 14 academics from the US, UK, Sweden and Austria have in advocating the liberalisation of drug laws in Ireland?

A Google search revealed that these signatories are supported by grants from the George Soros Open Society Foundation which openly states that since 2008 it has been “working to change the way the world approaches drug policy”.

An organisation with annual grants of 1.1 billion dollars to award has taken an interest in our drugs laws and neither the grant-funded “experts” nor The Irish Times thought it relevant to inform us, the readers? This is far from being fair and “open”.

It is important that Irish people are informed about all aspects of the growing push for marijuana legalisation, and in particular the experience in the US, where the ability of corporate interests to sell marijuana products has greatly expanded the market.

Big Tobacco companies like Altria (Phillip Morris, Marlboro, Juul) are investing billions in marijuana and vaping products (particularly popular with teens).

The cannabis edibles market (candies, cookies) is rapidly expanding. George Soros is a major shareholder in both Altria (Phillip Morris) and Monsanto which is investing heavily in cannabis-associated agriculture.

This may be great news for those with stock options but not for my patients. I have no doubt that the significant substance abuse problem we have has the potential to be made much, much worse. The intervention of a combination of international ideologues and corporate Big Marijuana interests in our national drugs legislative policy development is not a welcome one.

There is a bipartisan (Obama and Clinton’s drug policy advisers are members) non-corporate organisation in the US established by Patrick J Kennedy (son of the late Edward Kennedy) called Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM – Preventing Another Big Tobacco) which I would urge interested readers to consult for a more balanced view of the issues (including support for medicinal marijuana where medically indicated). – Yours, etc,

Dr THERESE

BOYLE,

Dublin 7.