"Ireland is ready for the legalisation of cannabis," according to Roscommon TD Luke Ming Flanagan, who today published his Cannabis Regulation Bill 2013.
Mr Flanagan estimated that the legalisation of cannabis could generate up to €300 million through tax revenues and the freeing up of resources. However, he stressed this was an estimate and it was not possible to know for sure what savings might be made.
“If cannabis is legalised, we can make a shopping list out of the amount of money which legalising cannabis will save this country,” said the TD.
These savings could, he said, lead to the reversal of the recent Budget cuts including cuts to the bereavement grant, cuts to young people’s social welfare payments and the abolition of the telephone allowance.
The Bill, which is due to be debated in the Dáil on November 5th and 6th, would, if passed:
- regulate cannabis for recreational and medical use
- allow for home cultivation up to a maximum of six cannabis plant
- allow for the personal possession of up to one ounce of cannabis
- allow for the setting up of “Cannabis Social Clubs” which would allow up to 50 club members to cultivate up to 300 plants for not-for-profit use
- set up a “cannabis regulation authority” to regulate the cultivation, sale, labelling, advertising and marketing of cannabis
- see tax revenue from cannabis fund drug addiction services, medical research and juvenile education courses on drugs.
- include a requirement that the Minister for Justice and Minister for Agriculture to examine the feasibility of the safe regulation and controlled use of cannabis.
“This Bill will protect our youth from unscrupulous dealers; it will make it, in my opinion, more difficult for them to get it; and in the same way as if a minor uses alcohol, a minor who uses cannabis will also face similar sanctions such as having to go into treatment,” Mr Flanagan said.
Mr Flanagan also announced the setting up of a new group, Normal Ireland, which aims to “proactively educate the Irish public as to the social, economic and health benefits of legalising cannabis” and to lobby for a change to the law.
The board of the new groups includes Stuart Clark, assistant editor of HotPress; Dr Garrett McGovern, a GP specialising in alcohol and substance abuse and Dr Cathal ÓSúiliobháin, a GP working with addiction.