A member of the Irish parliament has claimed that the legalization of cannabis would help solve the country’s financial woes.
Roscommon-South Leitrim Deputy Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan has said the move could generate over $600million a year for the Irish economy.
Self-confessed hash user Flanagan has been a long time campaigner for the legalization of the drug.
He even claims the proposed change to the legislation could take in more revenue for the state than the controversial household charge.
Speaking at a ‘Legalize Cannabis’ march in Dublin, Flanagan also claimed that current legislation is funding the criminal underworld.
“It has been estimated legalizing the drug would be worth €476million a year (over $600million) to the economy in revenue through taxation and savings to the criminal justice system,” he said.
“Money currently ends up in the pockets of criminals and it would be better spent in the health service.”
Flanagan is currently researching the topic as he intends to present a private members bill on the legalization of cannabis for recreational use.
He also told marchers he had been contacted by over 50 people suffering from multiple sclerosis and other illnesses asking him to fight for the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes on their behalf.
“This is a different issue and there is a cast-iron case for legalizing it for medicinal purposes,” he added.
Last March, Deputy Flanagan announced that he giving up using the drug while in Ireland as he was concerned for his family over his potential to be arrested.
By PATRICK COUNIHAN