We were surprised at the bravery of Cllr Jonny McCarthy in taking on such a controversial topic. He is proving himself to be a great representative for the people of Lisburn who want positive change – and sadly becoming a man alone because of it.
We believe Johnny is a good example of a properly moral politician – taking on issues like this that are usually avoided by elected politicians who care more about career prospects than doing what is right. His views that laws on cannabis consumption need modernized are echoed by many organizations, such as Transform, and other charities. However, this doesn’t mean we think no harm can come from the usage of cannabis. Like the usage of all drugs, including alcohol and prescribed antidepressants, there are dark sides. Some may become addicted or suffer injury as a result of intoxication. However there are some things that new thinking can do something about, rather than propping up a system that clearly doesn’t work to eliminate drug usage from our society. Things like regulated legalization work by taking cannabis out of the black market and the hands of criminal gangs. We could further receive tax revenue from the legal - but controlled – sale, which would go some way to paying for the damage drug consumption does to our society. Users who require medical help and are sick rather than criminals– and if threat of prosecution was removed, they would find this help easier to obtain. Sending them to jail is a waste of resources and ineffective, and runs the risk of committing them to further criminality due to having a conviction that would put prospective employers well off them.Currently none of these things happen. These measures we have outlined are realistic, borne out by good practice in other countries and through research, do not glamourize or promote recreational drug use and indeed take something back to lessen the heavy cost our society pays. So well done to Johnny McCarthy for shining a light in place where rhetoric, bias and political laziness have ruled the day. Keep up the good work Johnny. To find out more about common sense and innovative green approaches to thorny issues like this, please check www.greenpartyni.org