Cannabis is being used as a "medical treatment" in some circumstances, while others smoke it for recreational purposes the same way some people "like a glass of wine in the evening", meaning it is time the drug was decriminalised.
This is the view of the Green Party's Galway West candidate, Pauline O'Reilly, who was speaking following the party's launch of a new policy document on the decriminalisation of cannabis.
Ms O'Reilly said the party's proposals call for criminal offences to be removed for people over the age of 18 for possessing less than five grams of cannabis. The Green Party is also calling for people to have access to cannabis-based medicines, to be used under a supervised system, similar to what operates in Germany, and for individuals to be allowed grow up to two cannabis plants in their own home for personal use.
The Greens point out that many of the potential objections to cannabis use, such as addiction, teenage access, and clarity on its medical impact, are "not addressed by the current system", and that the party's policy is aimed at achieving "harm reduction".
"We need to leave room for the gardaí to tackle real drug trafficking problems with hard drugs, and not criminalise proven medical treatment," said Ms O'Reilly. "Cannabis is being used as a medical treatment and ordinary people are also using it like a glass of wine in the evening. We need drug law reform to build political will. We now need to be a mature nation and stop making criminals out of decent people and sufferers out of medical patients."