No official opposition to cannabis referendum

No student or group has registered as opposing the passing of the referendum which will mandate the DCU Students’ Union to support and campaign for the legalisation of cannabis.

Students will be asked to vote yes or no on the following: The DCU Students’ Union shall actively support and campaign for the legalisation and regulation of the cultivation, sale and possession of cannabis for adults aged 18 and over in the Republic of Ireland. 

The referendum has run concurrently with the 2016 SU elections, the results of all votes will be announced on Wednesday evening. The referendum was the result of a petition from the DCU Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) who are the only registered group campaigning for a yes vote.

“Before you can hold a referendum you must have a petition where you collect enough signatures and they meet all of the requirements to hold a referendum in DCU. So what the referendum will be asking, the question you see on the ballot, will be if you believe the DCU SU should actively support the legalisation and regulation of cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use,” said Dan Kirby Chairperson of SSDP.

Kirby is confident that the referendum will pass and that DCU will follow in the footsteps of NUIG who were the first university to pass a similar referendum last year.

“We haven’t felt any opposition yet. Everyone we’ve spoken to on campus has been very supportive. I’m sure there will be people who will be opposed but I think the vast majority of people realise it’s a no brainer,” said Kirby.

“Even if you think cannabis is harmful and you think people shouldn’t consume it then it makes more sense to legalise it and regulate it because you take money out of the hands of criminals. It also controls how strong the weed is, where it can be bought, who can buy it. Even if you’re against cannabis, it doesn’t mean you should be against the legalisation and regulation of cannabis.”

Kirby thinks referendums on both cannabis legalisation and the decriminalisation of certain drugs will occur nationally in the coming years and urges DCU student to lend their voice to the cause.

“A lot of people will ask us: why are we holding a referendum or what’s the point when they see legally it’s not going to change anything but the whole point is that it will mean that the voice of the students in DCU will be calling for the legalisation of cannabis.”

Katie O’Neill

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