Cannabis was grown near a Garda station in Cork city center in protest against the ongoing ban on the substance in Ireland.
Cannabis rights activist Martin Condon posted a video on his YouTube channel Martin’s World showing him collecting six cannabis plants in boxes on Shandon Bridge at the end of Cornmarket St.
He referred to the plants as “Bring Alicia Home” and “Call Vera” after two of Cork’s most prominent cannabis rights activists.
Alicia Maher moved to Spain for access to affordable medical cannabis, which she believed was the only drug that helped her after multiple surgeries.
Once bedridden and in severe pain, she is now doing her doctorate in law.
Vera Twomey campaigned for access to medical cannabis for her severely epileptic daughter Ava.
Cannabis saved her daughter’s life, Ms. Twomey said, and is the only substance she has found that can control her daughter’s seizures.
Despite the introduction of the state’s medical cannabis access program, Bedrocan, the drug Ava and other epileptic children have been receiving from Holland for many years, is not on the list of sanctioned drugs.
“Here in Ireland there is still a lot of suffering caused by the cannabis ban,” said Condon.
“Patients here in Ireland are still at the mercy of drug dealers who don’t have to meet a minimum standard of quality.
“Growing the cannabis plant shouldn’t be a criminal matter and patients should have fair and effective access to cannabis as medicine.
“That’s why I’m out and staging a little civil disobedience for these patients.”
Mr Condon’s journey into activism began when he was caught using cannabis at the age of 17.
He said the drug was very positive for him personally, calming him down and making him thoughtful.
But his interaction with the criminal justice system felt like “a violation of his sovereignty as a person” rather than a deterrent to cannabis use.
“I felt that was an injustice.
Between the ages of 17 and 20, I was stopped and searched almost 100 times by the Gardaí. It was very humiliating. “
He said that similar early arrests of friends for low levels of drugs set them on the path to further crime because they already felt “inferior” in the eyes of the law and society.
Mr Condon, now 31, set up his YouTube channel to highlight the shortcomings of drug policy.
He wants drugs to be decriminalized and regulated, safe access.
And he believes attitudes towards drug policy change with delay.
Just this week, Mexico’s highest court decriminalized recreational cannabis use.
In a previous ruling, the criminalization of the substance was declared unconstitutional.
“Drug use itself should not be viewed as criminal behavior. This is counterproductive to helping people who might be harmed by drugs,” he said.
“I have two children of my own and a third and I really hope to make society a little safer for them,” he said.