Move over, four-leaf clover. Ireland may soon have a much more fun plant to pick.
An Irish lawmaker says he plans to introduce legislation to the lower house of the Irish parliament next month that would legalize, regulate and tax both medical and recreational cannabis.
According to Irish site HotPress.com, 41-year old Deputy Luke "Ming" Flanagan (Editor's note: think roughly the equivalent of a member of the U.S. Congress), hasn't divulged his the exact language but said the regulations would be strict, and tightly controlled by the country's Justice Minister. Flannagan has been an open advocate for legalizing cannabis use and cultivation and has been to jail several times for possession himself.
And strict it is. Basically, the government would oversee all the sales, advertising and labeling for recreational and medical dispensaries. But they would also be required to license the cultivation for everyone - commercial and private home grows alike.
Wikimedia commons/JonRichfield. Seven leaves are better than four.
Home grows would be limited to six plants and personal possession would be limited to one ounce, exactly (28.35 grams). Social clubs and grow collectives would be permitted, but they would be capped at 50 members and a total of 300 plants. Retail sales would be divided into wholesalers, retailers, medical retailers, social clubs and, notably, "Cannabis Coffee Shop Licenses."
That's right: The bill would allow for public consumption of cannabis in clubs much like the Netherlands has done (and Colorado and Washington didn'tdo).
It's not all roses though. Children can not be anywhere near cannabis, that apparently includes in a home with a legal medical marijuana grow.
A new government agency would be created to educate the public on cannabis, similar to current alcohol awareness programs in the country. Marijuana advertising will be restricted more so than alcohol. Remember, this is in Ireland. The country that invented being drunk. Never mind that cannabis is much safer than alcohol in every single aspect and should be promoted as such.
The measure will also allegedly include provisions regarding the legalization of industrial hemp, though it doesn't seem to outright legalize it.
Flanagan's Cannabis Regulation Bill 2013 will be presented Nov. 6 before his fellow representatives in the Dáil Éireann, or lower house. The bill would also have to meet the approval of the upper house, or Seanad Éireann and the President of Ireland. We think there may be some leprechauns involved somewhere too, but our recollection of Irish politics from undergraduate history is admittedly little fuzzy.