A fifty bag is a term that will be familiar to most Irish cannabis consumers. For those unaware of its meaning, the term refers to €50 worth of cannabis, which often comes in a small baggie.
The amount in the bag seems to vary not just by location, but by consumers in those locations. From feedback seen on Irish Cannabis News and elsewhere, the average weight seems to be three grams.
However there are reports of people getting only two grams. The 2014 Global Drug Survey found that Ireland had the most expensive cannabis out of the countries surveyed. The Irish respondents reported cannabis costs them €25 a gram
The quality of the cannabis can sometimes leave a bad taste in the mouth, literally. There are often reports from consumers on poorly grown, poorly dried and cured cannabis, and even contaminations.
Many have forked out €50 just to be left utterly disappointed.
For many people a fifty bag is the cheapest and only option available. Some dealers may sell cheaper deals, or more than one person may contribute to the purchase, making things cheaper.
But certainly for a high number of Irish cannabis consumers €50 is the cheapest amount available.
This is perhaps a unique Irish trait. In my experience and from feedback, it seems that in many other European countries it is possible to buy individual grams, or to find lower priced options in general, such as €20 deals.
There is at least one issue with only being able to purchase cannabis at a minimum price of €50. The obvious issue is that it is very costly.
Potentially in worse case scenarios it can get a person into financial trouble if they constantly overspend, or even in debt in the long term, especially if they rely on a credit system for their deals. This is a system where you pay for the cannabis at a later date, it is also known as getting cannabis on tick
Getting cannabis on credit/tick appears to be common place, which is potentially risky for both the buyer and seller. A reoccurring theme in many Irish courts is stories of individuals drawn into further criminality having run up a debt. This may see them acting as a mule by transferring drugs, holding drugs or partaking in other criminal activities.
Before continuing perhaps we need the token disclaimer where I state that I neither endorse or condone the information below (except for publicly favouring law change). The information is merely to reflect the realities of the situation and highlight some possibilities.
For Irish cannabis consumers there are only a few ways around the price as things stand.
Decriminilsation/Legalisation is one option, but it is unlikely for the time being given there is no political desire for it. The public appetite may not be fully there yet either, but arguably it is not far off given last years opinion poll showing almost 40% favouring law change.
However it should be remembered that national opinion polls for legalisation in America only passed the 50% mark in 2013. This despite the decades of activism and various state iniativies, primarily around medicinal use. The first poll in 1969 showed support at only 12% in America.
Another option, with the law as it is, is buying in bulk as it should be a much cheaper option for consumers. If you are getting three grams for €50, then an ounce (28 grams) works out at around €450. Depending on your circumstances, both financially and on your supplier, it maybe possible to purchase an ounce for around half this price.
If you wish to avoid street dealers then the dark net/deep web is the place to go. It will require some research but can result in some bargains compared to street dealers. This still appears to be a niche thing, and used primarily by a younger age group.
Another risky but often rewarding venture is to grown your own. In the long run it is perhaps the cheapest of options, and you will have more control over the quality. But it can be ultimately costly if you are caught and appear before the courts.
For now the cheapest purchases available often remains €50 and as we have seen with the stats this hasn’t dettered young Irish people, with Ireland having much higher youth usage in comparison to other European countries.
So arguments stating that a situation like legalisation which would see cannabis perhaps available in shops (for arguments sake) at €10 a gram and available in single gram deals, would lead to dangerous levels of youth use are perhaps misguided.
For now many Irish cannabis consumers must continue to be cursed by the dreaded fifty bag.