Nineteen-year-old Irish boxer Aaron Walsh is getting a chance to keep his record clean.
The rising boxer has aspirations to represent Ireland internationally, but almost cost himself that opportunity by waving to police while smoking some cannabis, reports The Herald.
In September, Walsh was smoking in front of a department store when he attracted the attention of police across the street. They became suspicious after Walsh waved at them and upon stopping him, they caught a whiff of weed.
Walsh, who boxes for Bracken Boxing Club in Balbriggan and previously reached the final of the Irish Championship in the 69-kilogram weight class, admitted to smoking and said he was visiting friends in the town.
Judge Paul Kelly reminded Walsh that a criminal record could prevent him from travelling abroad for matches. Walsh acknowledged that he had potentially put his career in jeopardy and reported that he had stopped smoking.
When asked if he was any good, Walsh reportedly responded, “I’m good enough. Well, I have more wins than losses anyway.”
Now he can count missing out on a criminal record as another win, as the judge applied a probation order to the case.
Cannabis remains illegal in Ireland, something that the country’s recently appointed health minister, Stephen Donnelly, opposes. Named minister in June, Donnelly has previously said he’d “like to find a way to decriminalize small quantities of weed.”
His view was that “if a grown adult wants to grow a herb and then smoke it, and there are no negative consequences for other people, then they should be allowed to do that.”
Last year, in a step that could lead to change, Ireland launched a five-year pilot Medical Cannabis Access Programme, allowing doctors to prescribe cannabis to patients “where conventional treatment has failed.”