This Saint Paddy’s Day, how ‘green’ will the Emerald Isle actually be?
Here in the good old US of A, millions of partygoers nationwide will enjoy a typically raucous and well “lubricated” Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. The historically large amount of Irish immigration and descent in this country has guaranteed a plethora or options nationwide for ringing in this very green day. New York’s Saint Paddy’s parade and Savannah’s dyed green fountains come readily to mind. Certainly Coloradans will have an even extra “green experience” this year, being able to, for the first time, legally add a puff of the ‘ol’ green weede’ on top of their green beer, corned beef and potatoes. So, the question comes to mind as to how ‘green’ will things actually be over on the Emerald Isle this Saint Paddy’s day?
The movement to legalize pot use in Ireland has gained some momentum within the past year in particular, but so far that momentum is still well within the “grow” phase and hasn’t shown any real signs of hitting the flowering stage just yet. The most recent motion on liberalization of Irish pot laws was shot down earlier this month with a bid to legalize for personal consumption being shot down by Fine Gael delegates.
The proposal even received some applause in the legislative chamber, but when the vote came on deck, the motion was overwhelmingly shot down. Delegates from the Trinity College Dublin area made the proposal on the grounds that liberalizing personal use would get consumers out of the reach of dealers and break the hypocrisy of a nation where the public doesn’t really have any qualms over having a few pints after work, and where “being able to drink like a real Irishman” has long been lauded as a positive social trait…even a proud part of the national identity. Proponents say that no long-term linkages to mental illness have been proven.
From the standpoint of the government, Justice Minister Alan Shatter was quick to point out his strong opposition to liberalizing the drug laws and has insisted that proponents are wrong to think that smoking weed does not lead to long-term health issues citing that smoking “of any sort” is harmful as a practice of ingestion into the human body.
Much of the drive for such motions on liberalization of pot laws in Ireland has been coming from legislator, Luke ‘Ming’ Flannagan, who has been proposing earlier motions within the last year that have been continually shot down. Back in November of 2013, he had proposed a motion for legalization which was resoundingly defeated.
Beyond the concerns with the “smoke inhalation” aspect of things, Minister Shatter specifically stated that there are worrisome links between prolonged use of pot and mental health issues like schizophrenia.
Despite the overwhelming numbers that defeated this most recent motion, there was a solid 10% showing of hands in support of the motion. Nationally, a Paddy Power/Red C Poll taken back in January revealed that 38 percent of the people supported legalization. That poll also revealed that men are more likely to support it and that the idea is popular among younger aged citizens. The poll revealed very little disparity between the lower and higher social classes as regards the opinion over legalization.
All in all, while it is clear that momentum for legalization is slowly growing, it still has a very, very long way to go before Ireland goes truly green.