Ireland hosted their 7th annual Legalise Cannabis Ireland protest in Dublin this weekend, where activists and advocates came out and marched to demand legalization. One of the speakers at the event was Teachta Dála Luke Flanagan, member of the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament).
Flanagan has announced that he is working on legislation he plans to introduce this year to legalize the possession, and possibly cultivation, of cannabis in Ireland.
“I have been campaigning for years for the legalisation of cannabis and I am preparing a Private Members’ Bill that I will be putting before the Dáil [House of Representatives]”, said Flanagan. “The fact is, people are smoking it and the Government is losing a massive amount of money by not regulating it and taxing it.”
Legislation is also in the works to legalize the use of cannabis-based medicine Sativex in the country. The Irish Medicines Board has approved Sativex for use in Ireland, but the Misuse of Drugs Act prohibits cannabis use in the country, even for medicinal purposes. The Department of Health has stated that it intends to put forth legislation this summer to alter the law: “The legislative amendments required can be made by means of statutory instrument, however the legal issues are complex. While it is not possible to set out an exact time frame, it is hoped to bring forward legislative proposals in mid- 2013.”
To further demonstrate the desire for change across the country, popular Irish news site TheJournal.ie has recently been conducting a poll on cannabis legalization, and so far 73% of respondents are in favor, with 7% being unsure.