Police in the Republic of Ireland announced this week that law enforcement officers seized more than 250 pounds of cannabis as part of an ongoing effort to target organized crime activity in the Dublin area. In a statement released on Tuesday, the garda (Irish national police force) said that the seizure resulted in the arrest of two men, who are being held pending further investigation.
The seizure was carried out as part of an ongoing investigation related to Operation Tara, a garda campaign to target serious organized crime activity in the Dublin Region. On Monday, officers intercepted two vehicles in Tallaght, a suburb of the capital city, leading to the search of a house in nearby Knocklyon. The action led to the seizure of about 120 kilograms (nearly 265 pounds) of cannabis, which the law enforcement agency said has an estimated street value of more than €2 million (more than $2.1 million).
“Personnel attached to the Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) supported by the Special Crime Task Force (SCTF), intercepted two vehicles in the Tallaght area and searched a residential address in the Knocklyon area,” a garda spokesperson said in a statement to the media. “During the course of these searches, 120kg of cannabis herb with an estimated street sale value of €2.4m was seized.”
Police noted that two men in their 40s had been arrested in conjunction with the seizure of the illicit cannabis. The men are currently being held on suspicion of drug trafficking charges as the investigation continues. The weed seized in the operation has been sent to a laboratory for further analysis.
Public Pushes Back On Prohibition
The garda publicized the seizure on social media, noting in a Twitter post that the agency is “#KeepingPeopleSafe.” But other users on the platform questioned the public safety value of the police operation.
“Safe from what?” asked one Twitter user. “There would [have] been a few lads heading to shops for munchies after a few joints, do we really need to be safe from that or do you think there is bigger and more serious crime we should be kept safe from first.”
People commenting on social media also pushed back on the estimated street value of the seized cannabis provided by law enforcement, suggesting that the figure given is ten times what the confiscated weed is actually worth.
“In Canada where Cannabis is legal, regulated and taxed, this 120kg would be worth about CAD$400k and 5% of that would have gone to the gov in tax,” a Twitter user commented. “It’s also packaged a whole lot better than that! CAD$400k is around €250k or 10% of that valuation.”
Weed Legalization Bill Under Consideration
This week’s seizure of illicit marijuana in Ireland comes amid a renewed debate over cannabis prohibition in the country. Late last year, Gino Kenny, a lawmaker known as a Teachta Dála (TD) and a member of Ireland’s People Before Profit political party, proposed legislation that would legalize the possession of up to seven grams of cannabis and 2.5 grams of cannabis concentrates for personal use.
“The Bill is quite moderate. It amends existing legislation that dates back 42 years,” Kenny said during a November debate in the Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish Parliament. “Forty-two years is a very long time. I believe the existing legislation is out of date and out of time. We need a different narrative around drug reform.”
“I hope the Government can support this legislation,” he continued. “It is timely. Different parts of the world are looking at different models which do not criminalize people and which take a harm-reduction approach. I look forward to the debate.”