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Tue, Jan. 31st, 2006, 03:34 pm

I'm not sure how many levels this story annoys me on.

Heres the breakdown - because of a loophole in the law regarding the sale of magic mushrooms (they can't be sold processed but raw seems to be okay, something along those lines) there are a good many stores around the country selling them. Something I was not bloody well aware of I might add. Some bloke bought some, took them and then threw himself off a balcony... allegedly. The family claim that the mushrooms were a factor in his death but theres been no confirmation.

The government, having over the weekend, solved all the problems with the health service, transport infrastructure, massive divide between rich and poor, violence, immigration, racism and corruption decided to tackle the problem of a few stoners *allegedly* getting high HEAD ON. Because by God we can't have people getting a cheap natural high when there are plenty of government sanctioned, heavily processed, incredibly harmful substances available to kill you slowly and remove any ability or inclination you ever had to do something exceptional with your life. The upshot is, now y'all have to go back to drinking away your problems until you explode in a ball of sociopathic rage and beat the teeth out of the guy beside you with a pool que instead of sitting back on your sofa and watching the colours for six hours, thinking about the nature of existence. Thanks Government!
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Tue, Jan. 31st, 2006 04:33 pm (UTC)

All well and good but I'm not suggesting that anyone start knocking back five dried grammes a night on fridays and saturdays so much as wondering about the ferocity with which the government goes after something relatively harmless that is *occasionally* used by a small minority of people who prefer it instead of actually doing something about.. I dunnow... shops that sell smokes and booze to kids. Y'know, real problems.

Nutmeg comes from a nut, its not exactly palatable I can tell you (see waffles experiment from a few months back)
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Tue, Jan. 31st, 2006 06:08 pm (UTC)

It's not a case of legalising it, Nick - it's already, currently, as we speak, legal (or possibly was until a few hours ago) and it's not being taken by every man, woman and child in vast quantities. Or ever by very few people in vast quantities or every man, woman and child in very tiny quantities. What they're talking about is suddenly making it *illegal*, criminalising something which up until now was perfectly fine, which means the few people who occasionally took it (and yes, the fewer people who took it every weekend, or every day, but that's their issue) won't be able to get it without breaking the law, making them criminals.

Tue, Jan. 31st, 2006 10:14 pm (UTC)

There we go, a bit more articulate than I was capable of. Chuck in the fact that this means MORE gardai wasting their time following up pointless little exercises like this while crack dealers walk free on technicalities spawned from their lack of training or resources and you have the source of my annoyance on this one.
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Wed, Feb. 1st, 2006 09:33 am (UTC)

"Is it right to stop people buying hallucinogens?"

It is when its over the death of one idiot who it hasn't even been confirmed was taking them at the time (let alone what else was in his system) and is in fact based on the heresay of his family. It is when the measures are put through into law without any debate on the matter.

Honest to God, dozens of people die every year because of alcohol, crappy hospitals and whatever else and nothing happens. One bloke decides he can fly and they can't move fast enough.

"Do the government/gardai have better things to do with their time?"

Crack Cocaine - currently the incredibly hard drug of choice by all accounts


Magic Mushrooms - already growing wild, don't have a distinct tendency to swallow all your cash, aren't insanely addictive and aren't generally associated with death throughout the entire human history of people taking the things - except for the people dumb enough to think taking them on a roof, or around farm machinery is a groovy idea.
In fact, BANNING the damned things only makes more of an issue of the fact that they were available (and lets get real here, still *will* be available for quite some time) and that possession (apparantly) isn't illegal (but I'll be checking that one before I remove the apparantly bit there)

Me, I'd go for the one that kills people.
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Wed, Feb. 1st, 2006 10:27 am (UTC)

Thing is, the gardai are terribly under funded and resourced and staffed so any time spent on this nonsense is to the detriment of... well... "real" criminal investigation.
The way I've seen the media report it, its been all about the flying goon with a footnote about the funky skunk - so I guess you're right there but I'd reckon the story would still be getting press even without her. Hell, there wasn't even a story there until the government decided to shove the ban through, up until that point it was "bloke who may perhaps possibly have been on mushrooms jumps out window, but it could've been like... LSD, or amphetaimes or a mixture of lord knows what else, we don't really know, so... sorry about that crappy reporting, and isn't this a long headline? Lets see how long we can make it... do de dooo doo do de dooo doo do"

Yer one from the funky skunk has a perfectly legitimate case, they impounded something entirely legal on the basis that it was going to be illegal before long - like theres a statute of limitations on future crimes or something.

Wed, Feb. 1st, 2006 03:46 pm (UTC)

But it's never been illegal in "unprocessed" form, so taking your argument, why have we not already got huge numbers of people taking it? How long have those shops and individuals been selling it? Why should we assume that supply is going to increase beyond what it is already, that more and more shops are going to start selling it, since that loophole is far from a new one (and may never even have been brought to light had they not confiscated that shopkeeper's at-the-time legal produce.)

Not that I'm saying that that wouldn't have happened, just that we don't know either way, and basing action on erroneous assumption is bad procedure, IMO.

I would also worry that this will mean that those who go scavenge the woodlands and pick wild magic mushrooms for their own use (if they are sure enough of their botany to know they're not getting mixed up :) ) will be in trouble, because they'll have no way of proving that the didn't buy them somewhere (if it's only selling and buying that's to be made illegal) or worse, possession of the unprocessed form will also be made illegal, criminalising people who go pick nature's own bounty for their own use.

It's a slippery slope.

Wed, Feb. 1st, 2006 04:22 pm (UTC)

Since you mention it, I'd also rather the damned things be for sale in a shop where you have some guarantee of their safety as opposed to letting people go out and make a semi educated guess as to which of the lethal fungi is the one that gives you the mad buzz and which is the one that kills you after a muscle crippingly agonising hour.

Wed, Feb. 1st, 2006 09:43 pm (UTC)

Hear hear. Although that rather relies on the people supplying the shops knowing what they're doing.

Tue, Jan. 31st, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC)

Nutmeg is wonderful in small quantities, but I wouldn't recommend trying to eat a whole nut. You'd wreck your teeth, for starters...

Tue, Jan. 31st, 2006 10:18 pm (UTC)

Its a hallucenogen in larger quantities (and lethal if taken intravenously) and it tastes like shit when pure let me tell you.

This reply may have several spelling mistakes.

Tue, Jan. 31st, 2006 11:51 pm (UTC)

Here here. Check out the alcohol statistics I just put in my latest LJ entry.

Mary Harney is a disgrace, a big fat disgrace.

Wed, Feb. 1st, 2006 04:37 am (UTC)

Here here.

Where? ;-)

Mary Harney is a disgrace, a big fat disgrace.

Don't do that. Her weight's nothing to do with her ability to do her job. Comments like this detract from your point.

Wed, Feb. 1st, 2006 08:45 am (UTC)

IMO it is. Would you have confidence in an overweight fitness instructor? No, so understandably I lack ocnfidence in a minister for health who is obese and appears to be doing nothing about it.

I wasn't just making a cheap crack at her size..

Wed, Feb. 1st, 2006 10:03 am (UTC)

But she's not a fitness instructor. I don't think she's meant to be a cheerleader for a healthy lifestyle (I apologise for giving you images of Mary Harney as a cheerleader.), rather than an organiser of a government department.

I don't know a lot about the lady. For all I know, she could have the healthiest lifestyle in the world and have trouble getting weight off, or inject heroin into her eyeballs every day. I don't know if she's in good health or not. If she had a dangerously high sodium diet, a booze problem, a methane addiction.. ehh.. I don't know.. if she had some other attribute that made her life unhealthy, we wouldn't know. Previous health ministers may well have had any or all of these things. Because it's something obvious, it's easy to pick on and, yeah, it does come across as a cheap shot.

Wed, Feb. 1st, 2006 04:27 pm (UTC)

...and David Blunkett would make a terrible minister for agriculture because that dog looks like a sheep worrier to me...

...oh...hmmm....maybe it's not your sheep you need to worry about...

Wed, Feb. 1st, 2006 09:35 am (UTC)

Actually I reckon it does. I mean if you looked like that and were trying to tell people how to be healthy do you really think you'd be taken seriously? And if you're not being taken seriously, how do you do your job?

She's an awful human being though. I hope rats eat her feet.

Wed, Feb. 1st, 2006 09:55 am (UTC)

I don't think her job is to be a poster child for health though, in the same way that I wouldn't expect the minister for agriculture to grow sheep in his garden, or the minister for education to be more than averagely academic. Her job is to know a lot about managing health services, and work with experts to manage ours. Whether she does -that- is another question entirely, I'll grant you, and one well worth putting under critical analysis.

(I'm with you on the mushrooms issue though. Storm. Teacup.)

Wed, Feb. 1st, 2006 10:35 am (UTC)

I can't agree with what you're saying, I just can't reconcile myself with the idea that the job of a minister is to sit there, listen to what is said by the people who *actually know about the topic* and then make a decision based on their own opinions given the information presented - and even then they can ignore that information.
Now given that not a one of them can actually do that, they should at least try to learn and try to lead by example before they issue dictates or reccomendations about our own behaviour

For example, imagine Mary Harney and Anika Rice are both on a stage and they both say "Hey, be healthier, stop eating crap!". Which one would you take seriously and would inspire you to listen to what they're saying? Imagine a real farmer, or even farm manager and the minister for agriculture were both up there saying "Irish farming is in a bad way, it needs an extension on the EU subsidies". Which one do you reckon has actual knowledge of the situation and isn't relying on second or third hand information that may or may not have been twisted and corrupted as it went through the information channels?

That said, heres another cheap shot while I'm at it. She's a walking metaphor for the health service - bloated, ungainly and filled with infections.

Mon, Feb. 13th, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC)

(coming late to the party again)

Many doctors smoke and/or are overweight. Would you still listen to them?