15. Cannabis DeStymatised – Persecuted Grower – John O’ Regan

15. Cannabis DeStymatised – Irish Cannabis Party – John O’ Regan


In John’s own words…

After graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Electronic Engineering, in 1985 John moved to Holland to work for Philips. Over the next 4 years he regularly smoked cannabis that I bought in the local coffee shops and enjoyed it as freely as I did the local beers. I only came across cocaine once (in a night club) and no other illegal drugs whatsoever. After leaving Philips I got a job with Western Digital in Cork and went out one night looking for cannabis. I was given directions to a dealer and also scored LSD for the first time. Next morning I went to a public park where I met a bunch of young teenagers who pointed to the guy I was looking for. I bought a “deal” from him and over the following year I came across a lot of other drugs besides cannabis. I moved to Kilkee in 2015 and less than a month later was knocked down by a hit-and-run driver. The gards investigated and several months later called to my flat to tell me due to lack of evidence they were dropping the case. They smelled cannabis so next day they showed up with a search warrant and so began my career as a criminal!! I’ve been searched many times since, been convicted a few times (most recently at Ennis Circuit Court) and unless the law is changed, I’ll probably end up in prison someday. John is a wonderful peaceful human but in small town Ireland looking how he looks with and his open-ness about his activism it has made him a very easy target for the local Gardai He has sought to set up an Irish Cannabis Party and a Kilkee Social club and is regularly to be seen cycling around Kilkee proudly wearing his activism. I really enjoyed his articulate reflections on the different experiences between Holland and Ireland and sadly how certain people can be persecuted under Ireland’s prohibition. John is one of the voices not getting a proper representation in the Citizens Assembly the guy who just enjoys Cannabis and the culture around it. He continues to live under the shadow of his suspended sentences…


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