Tuesday, 5 November 2013
Cannabis Regulation: Motion [Private Members]
At the outset, I thank Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan and the Technical Group for allowing me some of their speaking time. I compliment those such as Mr. Patrick Fitzpatrick, who works with Deputy Flanagan, on their excellent work in bringing this motion seeking legislation before the House. Whichever side of the argument one is on, I believe it is good that we are having the debate.
If the Bill that is proposed only referred to the use of cannabis by persons who are ill and under doctors' advice, and it was to be strictly regulated, I would have no problem whatsoever with it.
I would have a problem with and concerns about personal use and people growing it at home. However, I take grave exception to the fact that last week a Fine Gael Deputy accused the Technical Group of cynically facilitating Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan in bringing this motion before the House. That is a ridiculous statement for any person to make. I refer to the broad-minded attitude of Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan. Even though, like me, she may not support it, she agrees with and welcomes the holding of this debate. We will all be the better for the work Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan and his people have done in bringing the motion before the House. While it may not be accepted, I predict that good will come from having such a debate in the first instance. It is wrong for anyone to say it is wrong to facilitate debate. That is what democracy and politics are about. I welcome the debate. I know of the work and sincere effort and research which have been undertaken by Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan. People from abroad have come here to support him and they have given us the benefit of their expertise and life experiences. That is to be welcomed because we are all on a learning curve. It is very important that we be open-minded and broad-minded about all subjects like this.