On October 24, Irish Independent politician Luke “Ming” Flanagan held a press conference to announce the launch of an Irish chapter of NORML, the American organization that advocates for the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana.

NORML Ireland is working to legalize the responsible adult use of cannabis in the country, and to gain recognition for the rights of people to peacefully pursue activities relating to cannabis without unwarranted intervention by the authorities.

One of the speakers at the press conference was Dr. Cathal O’Sullivan, who spoke eloquently in support of the Cannabis Regulation Bill that Flanagan is presenting to the Dáil Éireann (the Irish government) for debate on Nov. 5 and 6.

O’Sullivan said, “I think the general public is not buying the lies and misinformation that’s been put out about cannabis by people who are attempting to maintain the status quo. The legislation that’s there at the moment obviously isn’t effective... At a conservative estimate we’re putting a million euros a year into the criminal gangs system of drug dealers, and that’s not helping communities, individuals, it’s not helping the general health of our population… I think the introduction of this bill will stimulate a real discussion about the actual facts around cannabis, and my feeling is decriminalizing, regulation, will definitely be for the betterment of the health of Irish people.”

Find NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) Ireland on Facebook here.

Please support Ireland’s bid for legalization and sign the Petition for Change.

Dr. Cathal O’Sullivan’s NORML press conference statement transcribed in full:

“The reason I would support this bill is because I think the general public is not buying the lies and misinformation that’s been put out about cannabis by people who are attempting to maintain the status quo. The legislation that’s there at the moment obviously isn’t effective. One in four irish people between 15 and 60, whatever the statistic is, have used cannabis, and they obviously don’t believe it causes things like strokes, and psychosis, or they don’t believe that there’s a serious danger of that. So they’re voting with their feet… they’re being criminalized. The cost to society is very very significant. At a conservative estimate we’re putting a million euros a year into the criminal gangs system of drug dealers, and that’s not helping communities, individuals, it’s not helping the general health of our population. So I think a bill that regulates cannabis in a way that’s more cognizant of the actual real research… as [Dr. Garrett McGovern] said, he’s never heard of a death from cannabis, he’s never heard of the danger of stroke, I’ve never heard of that either, I have never heard any evidence to back up this allegation that it causes strokes. So there’s a lot of misinformation out there. I think the introduction of this bill will stimulate a real discussion about the actual facts around cannabis, and my feeling is decriminalizing, regulation, will definitely be for the betterment of the health of Irish people and especially I think young people, because at the moment they're more or less forced into buying their drugs from illegal sources who also peddle other much more dangerous drugs, and I think it will be very helpful if the drug is regulated and if access is controlled in a rational way.”