Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his Stance on Cannabis

The Taoiseach of Ireland and His Views on Cannabis Legalization

Ironically, in India during the 1830s, one of the first ever European doctors to ever study the cannabis indica plant for medical purposes was an Irish man called William Brooke O’Shaughnessy. In the past year, Ireland has started to reconsider its current attitude surrounding the plant and there has been several proposals to change medical marijuana laws. Back in the summer of 2018, in The Republic of Ireland the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar explained that while he is “extremely law-abiding”, he has admitted to smoking the plant while he was in college. As the Taoiseach of Ireland, he has a very open-minded approach to cannabis.

Varadkar made a comment on the head shops that were common back in 2010. He believed that head shops needed to be regulated. This is because drug dealers were trying to get one step ahead of the law and head shops themselves, like a very bad game of chess, that got very messy, very quickly. Varadkar believed that head shops intimidated drug dealers, and by regulating them more, they would become more threatened. I reckon that this would be his approach with cannabis dispensaries in Ireland [if they become a thing].

“I think it’s kind of curious, the extent to which the attacks on the head shops are being carried out by drug dealers. It shows the extent to which the main opponents of any form of legalization or regularisation of drugs are those who are making a fortune out of selling unsafe, dangerous, drugs that are not properly monitored in any way.”

A particular group of experts who are considering the decriminalization of the plant is researching areas of legalities where it can be used for recreational purposes. Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada had legalized recreational marijuana in October 2018. This gave the particular group of experts more information and research to go on.

A Medical Cannabis Programme for Ireland

On Change.org, the people of Ireland are creating petitions in order to get the Governments attention on legalizing medical cannabis in Ireland.

Leo Varadkar has stated that the decriminalization of the plant is under consideration and that there have been a few steps taken to allow the plant to be purchased and consumed. He indirectly explains that cannabis legalization for both medical and recreational purposes won’t cause destruction. He gave a statement to RTE explaining

“We’re conscious that Portugal has done it and has had some success in moving it from a criminal justice matter to a health and addiction issue and I’m very conscious that cannabis has been decriminalized in every state on the west coast of the United States. Colorado, most recently Canada and the sky hasn’t [fallen] in, so it’s something that’s under consideration”.

Back in 2016, 92% of Irish people who participated in a poll in favor of or against support for prescribed medicinal cannabis in Ireland. Does this suggest that the Irish are comfortable and encouraging the plant for medical use? It’s a no-brainer in my eyes. It’s 2018 now, and the Government is still taking their time, but for good reason.

Very recently, Leo Varadkar had held up a poster in the Dáil, which is a big no-no! He was then labeled as a “disgrace”, and ironically, not because of the content on the poster [cannabis]. It was because he had broken house rules of using imagery and/or props in the house. The Taoiseach has stated that the legalization of marijuana is slow because they are looking for marijuana suppliers. A slow process to its legalization is not necessarily a bad thing, but my suggestion is that Ireland should be looking up to Canada for example.

First, the smoking indoors ban, the plastic bag tax, equal marriage and the abortion referendum. Is cannabis legalization next on Ireland’s list? For a country that is known for being stubborn to change, it’s certainly a more diverse and understanding country that is now ready for change. Recently, officials of the health department traveled to Denmark in search of a cannabis supplier. Access to cannabis has proven to be difficult (the new medical access scheme) which was criticized by Micheál Martin (leader of Fianna Fáil). This is a topic that I’ll be writing about s more information unravels. For now, there is uncertainty, but I’m going to document all that I can on cannabis legalization in Ireland, so keep in touch by subscribing to my newsletter!

Disclaimer: I am not sponsored by any cannabis-based company, of any sort. My opinions and my experiences are my own and genuine.