Decriminalising cannabis could save Ireland 300 million euro a year, a legalisation campaigner has claimed.
Independent TD Luke Ming Flanagan said the Government could reverse harmful cuts to young people's dole payments and the scrapping of a telephone allowance for the elderly announced in the budget if it adopted new laws to allow use of the drug.
"To me it's fairly obvious that there could be financial gains," Mr Flanagan said.
"To put money back to the most vulnerable in society, helping the less well-off, developing treatments for far more harmful drugs such as heroin and cocaine, to me would be better than putting it back in the hands of criminals."
Mr Flanagan's Cannabis Regulation Bill, which will be debated and voted on in the Dail on November 6, aims to decriminalise possession of the drug.
It also suggests setting up "cannabis social clubs" where the plant is grown on a not-for-profit basis.