Calls have been made for cannabis seeds to be banned in Ireland after another major cultivation operation was busted by gardai.
Fine Gael has said the ‘legal loophole’ that allows the seeds to be sold freely here needs to be closed.
The party’s justice spokesman Charlie Flanagan TD said legislation needed to be changed because of the increasing trend toward home-grown cannabis.
At the moment, anyone over the age of 18 can buy a range of
cannabis seeds over the internet or at the many ‘head shops’ that have opened around the country in recent years.
The shops insist they make it clear that the seeds are sold as souvenirs and are not to be cultivated.
“I would be calling for a review of the legislation governing so-called head shops”, Deputy Flanagan said. “There is clearly a loophole here. Already 80pc of British cannabis is home grown and I believe the trend is similar in this country. The seeds should be banned”.
He said this week’s €200,000 seizure of plants, at a Leitrim grow house, showed the extent of cannabis cultivation in Ireland.
An Irish head shop owner was adamant that none of the seeds sold at his store were ever cultivated by customers.
Paddy Grant of Nirvana, on South William Street told the Herald: “I can say without hesitation that nobody that buys the seeds from my shop would grow them in Ireland. I trust my customers, I ask all my customers not to germinate the seeds. If they ask about growing, if there is even a hint that that is what they are buying them for, we won’t sell them”.
The Herald was able to buy a packet of seeds, with no questions asked, at another branch of the shop — but prominent signs on the counter explained both the law and the no cultivation policy.
“That proves my point”, Mr Grant said. “Every time there is a bust (on cannabis growers) I’m delighted because I don’t like seeing the laws of the state being broken, even when I don’t agree with them”.
He said Fine Gael’s proposal for a ban was ridiculous.
“What harm has a cannabis seed ever done to anyone?” he said. “There isn’t a country in the world where cannabis seeds have been banned”.
Meanwhile, internet service www.cannabisseeds.ie, is currently offering a free packet of seeds with every Irish order.