Ming tells rally legal cannabis can raise €476m
LEGALISING cannabis would be worth more than €400m a year to the economy -- more than the household charge, an Independent TD has argued.
Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, a campaigner against the criminalisation of cannabis use, told a 'Legalise Cannabis' march in Dublin city centre that the current situation was funding the criminal underworld.
The Roscommon-South Leitrim Independent TD said it has been estimated legalising the drug would be worth €476m a year to the economy in revenue through taxation and savings to the criminal justice system.
"Money currently ends up in the pockets of criminals and it would be better spent in the health service," Mr Flanagan, who addressed hundreds of people as he spoke outside Dail Eireann at Saturday's rally, said.
The TD is researching the issue for a private members bill on recreational use.
Mr Flanagan said he had been contacted by up to 50 people suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) and other illnesses asking him to fight for the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
He said this was a different issue and there was a "cast-iron case" for legalising it for medicinal purposes.
A medicinal cannabis activist, Gordon McArdle, has sent proposed legislation governing the 'compassionate' use of the drug to every TD in the country.
In March, Mr Flanagan announced his decision to give up using the drug while in Ireland. However, the TD stated he was giving up the illegal drug until it was legalised in Ireland out of concern for his family over his potential to be arrested.