A measure that would have legalized cannabis use, possession and cultivation in Ireland was defeated handily yesterday, shot down with a 111 to 8 vote in the Dáil, Ireland’s lower house of representatives.
According to RTÉ News, the cannabis bill was allowed some debate but it seems most of the rhetoric was from stuffy politicians with no real idea what cannabis is or does. Even the health minister pulled out the often-debunked “cannabis causes schizophrenia” myth.
The bill, introduced by 41-year-ol 41-year old Deputy Luke “Ming” Flanagan, would have granted control of the nation’s cannabis industry over to the Ministry of justice. Adults would have been able to cultivate an ounce of herb and be limited to six plants at a time. There would also have been commercial sales and both commercial and private grows would have to be licensed by the Ministry.
But apparently that wasn’t enough, and Flanagan’s fellow politicians let him have it over his proposal. Several said that they did not want to add another vice to Ireland, where alcoholism is a large problem. Others said that the same people who bring guns and cocaine into Ireland are the same ones bringing in cannabis, therefore legalizing it would allow them to run rampant.
Thankfully, he was called on that load of horse manure. Representative John Halligan noted that bill would have allowed people to grow their own and bypass “cut-throat gangsters” altogether.
Others simply touted folksy quotes and sayings like “a healthy body requires a healthy mind”. We know plenty of ganja smokers that would argue that having a spliff now and then helps them keep a healthy mind and body.
There was some rational discussion, however. United Left representative Clare Daly said that the discussion was long overdue and said cannabis legalization is coming whether her colleagues like it or not. Daly also expressed strong interest in allowing cannabis as a medical treatment.
According to some recent informal polls, lawmakers are woefully out of touch with voters. More than 84 percent of people who answered an online newspaper poll for The Journal said that cannabis should be legalized.
In response to his bill being killed, Ming has threatened to out all of his colleagues who have admitted to smoking cannabis in the past. Whether or not he does, the move is symbolic in pointing out the hypocrisy of keeping cannabis illegal when even elected officials consider it benign.