tv Documentary RT November 7, 2013 4:29am-5:01am EST
is that there is a real momentum towards that not just in our land but also but in much of around the western world why do you think that is why i think at this stage the vast majority of people in the western world have worked. the criminalization of cannabis users is not working and in our it is estimated that there are up to two hundred fifty thousand people who use cannabis every year there are one hundred thousand people who have ended up with a criminal record for possession as a result of this and at this stage i think people have worked out that the current strategy is not working it's leaving money in the hands of the criminals and it's actually making cannabis a far more dangerous substance now i know that you recently introduced the bill on the cannabis legalization to dull the irish parliament and some of your fellow in peace have been pretty skeptical some are even openly critical of such proposal with all the aware and those that you mentioned earlier why do you think there is
still such a strong opposition to this move. well i suppose the reality is that the vast majority of the members of our dollar the members of our parliament appear to be opposed to this legislation and i would suggest that the reason why they would be opposed is that they are afraid as being seen as soft on drugs somehow and they're not being as hard line as maybe they expect their enforcers for them to be and the at this stage it's becoming clear to me that the general public i've actually moved on on this issue you will cash what they call our paper of record here in this country the irish times you read the articles that have been written about this proposed legislation and it is quite clear from the comments that should be made hundreds of them that it seems that the irish public have walking up to the fact that the war on cannabis has failed and that there needs to be an older strategy i know that people who oppose the criminalization of cannabis sometimes
happen to be smokers sometime happen to be consumers are partly her and i think by now it's not even debated that the how thing. using both tobacco and alcohol are much more detrimental both on personal level and for national health care systems but at the same time you can't really claim that cannabis is good for your health so i wonder can your really justified be decriminalised one unhealthy substance by claiming that the rest is what i think the first thing we have to do is actually near the lie that has been put out there by some people that actually cannabis is more harmful than tobacco and alcohol and we had it on our national media over the last couple of weeks but it is quite clear according to the world health organization that it is less harmful. to battle but of course everything is harmful in the wrong hands. is harmful in the wrong hands and in the right hands it means you can name
a jumper which you wouldn't ban need to. on the basis that some people might misuse them now there are many myths out there about cannabis and one of them is this incorrect a link to schizophrenia and i think the best way to knock that mitt is to look at great britain and its cannabis use each rates between one nine hundred seventy two and two thousand and two during that period the amount of people use cannabis in great britain increased four fold in the general population indoors under eighteen years of age is actually increased forward if the studies that have been pushed out there attempting to link schizophrenia with cannabis war correct then we would have seen a twenty seven percent increase in schizophrenia in great britain or for that period when in fact studies have quite clearly shown that it has stayed the same and actually at best there has been a reduction in the number of people with schizophrenia supporters of cannabis legalization have long insisted that such
a move would reduce the cost of maintaining law enforcement and criminal justice but i think most recently they have been shifting to a different sort of argument and that is that it would allow not only to save money but also make money and in ireland these days i guess any money making opportunity would be very appealing cannabis offer a way out of us that aren't seen we'll look at obviously in itself it's not going to be a whale of a star issue for an economy like ours and worth about two hundred billion euros it's really going to change the position massively borscht there are obvious financial gains a study recently that came out of israel suggested that it would actually save that country and make that country up to four hundred fifty million american dollars and if you compare that to ireland we actually have twice the usage rates that they have in israel we have about half their population so i don't think it would be unreasonable to suggest that would be worth about three hundred million euros to
the economy irish. every year there are savings to the criminal justice system to the fact that there are eight thousand people every year in ireland dragged before the courts and face costs an awful lot of money there is also the fact that those one hundred thousand people who have a criminal record currently are actually inhibits fish from getting involved in gratian economic activity and the reason behind that is because once you have a criminal record for possession of cannabis you are no longer allowed to work in a really decent job and even if legalization was to free those one hundred thousand people up to produce an extra one thousand euros a year for the economy bash is worth one hundred million euros and so my figure of three hundred million actually i think it is very conservative bush it's better to be careful on this road than being accused of exaggeration down the line but if you look at the bill that proposed so far most of the matters that you suggested primarily deal with personal or communal years of cannabis you are not at this.
promoting large scale commercial cultivation and i wonder why restrain yourself with partial decriminalization because here all the time that ireland needs growth why not facilitate that through the growth of cannabis well i actually think you're incorrect and i think you've misinterpreted. it because my calls for total legalization allow for the fact that many people would like to grow their own or also people would like to buy it from a not for profit organization such as a kind of a social club like they've set up and barcelona which we have also allowed for their commercial sector we have commercial licenses we have a retail licenses and let's say just from a practical point of view if my bill was passed it would mean in the morning that a person who wants to use cannabis can go into a shop to purchase it they could go into a coffee shop to purchase it they can possess up to one ounce of cannabis them says
if they don't have a license to girlish bushnell eternal. they would have the option of going at them says now many people probably think that if it's legalized they would grow it themselves but i think all we need to do is look at the market is not rocket science to make alcohol but the fast majority of people don't even in a country like ours which i believe has a problem and the reason why they don't want is because of convenience and i think you will see something very similar in the cannabis markers but the biggest saving theirs i believe would occur is as a result of wash professor david milch from the drugs advisory commission in great britain said he estimates that alcohol use each would reduce by twenty five percent if cannabis was legalized in ireland the stats goes out of college costs this economy of to three point four billion euros every year if we reduce alcohol in this country by a quarter it wouldn't be unrealistic to say there's another seven to eight hundred
million euros that we can actually use for a youth unemployment to help the edge early who can't get a decent health service at the moment and it could be spent in the taxed economy as opposed to leaving us with criminals and people who are very dangerous you just mentioned alcoholic beverages that has quite a few brands that how people relax and i know that the sales of. christina lowered their world especially in the american market the same is happening with the sales of irish beer would you like arlen to be a no no haven famous for your brand of cannabis while they i wouldn't particularly want to contribute to be known for that bush has sadly at the moment is very well known for a far more harmful drug so i can't see how we should make it any worse than the current situation but my ambition on this isn't that it will end up with
a large scale export i. i would like to see from an environmental perspective anyway if we apply the proximity principle we grow and we use it as close as possible in the same place because the idea that it ends up like out of college where you have massive advertising etc that would really turn me off and in my they're serious impositions when it comes to advertising and cannabis and in particular we have made the decision not to allow it to be advertised with sports even though all the government would probably force against are actually balking at the idea of taking the advertisement of a far more harmful drug out of college sports at the moment because they say sports can't afford it is ironic and you touched upon a very interesting phenomenon that is taking place in ireland these days you mention the start see it before and i know that people because they're so constrained for money saving on clothing communication transport but as you pointed
out the consumption of alcohol is increasing in ireland and isn't that a reason ultimately to shelf your proposal for a little while and wait until social conditions have been better you know the rates of unemployment the rates of depression go down because you know that people turn to these substances to escape the harsh realities if we've seen that with alcohol why don't you think that's going to happen with cannabis well as i've already said on many occasions out is a far more harmful drug than cannabis and if a it was a case that cannabis didn't exist that people currently didn't use this or that it wasn't here then your argument would be stronger but the reality is here and he's here to stay is he's not going to disappear off this planet and we have a choice we either allow the criminals to be the vendors or we allow the. economy to be the vendors that is the decision that we have to make at the moment i knew all i would prefer for this morning to go to war health service. then the type of
people who would shoot chew over this issue but i think the problem both with alcohol and other sorts of substances is moderation you know even alcohol in itself is not a problem we all know about drinking a glass of wine a day and being good for your heart but the problem is of course that in the time of social upheaval at the time of economic hardship people have difficulty self regulating and south moderating so. why don't you think that something like this could happen because you're adding one more substance to live substances that. i actually don't believe were adding any new substance as i've already said is already out there and as professor david north has said he believes would reduce by twenty five percent so i believe we would see a society gain but the results of the other important part and point at the moment when people buy cannabis in this country and in most countries around the world
they do not know how strong it is they don't know what the percentage of t.h.c. to c.b.d. is which is very important because one is a psychotic and the older is an anti-psychotic and currently in the republic of ireland people are actually mixing cannabis with older substances to increase its weight which is turning this into a very very kerosene agenda and in some cases they're mixing it with psychiatric drugs so if it was legalized not only would it take take away from the black economy it would also make it infinitely safer because people wouldn't know what they were using exactly what they were using mr flanagan to have to take a short break now but when we come back the proponents of cannabis legalization claim that it may provide a much needed boost economic boost but it is a stereotype of really the best of possibly the worst time to attempt such a move that's coming up in a few moments on the wall to part. the
limpid torch is on it's a big journey to search. one hundred twenty three days. through to the cities of russia. really fun or do those people who are sixty plus those who come in. in a record setting trip milan their c.e.o. motors face. a limp the torch relay. on r t r two dot com. i think the issue of privacy the issue of surveillance hasn't gotten enough coverage in the mainstream media i think the majority of americans don't know what's going on don't understand the significance of what's come out this summer i don't think it
necessarily they need to hear about me and my story because a lot of it is one small piece of a much larger puzzle but what i do think that mainstream america needs to hear about and then her stand is just to what good links our government is going to conduct surveillance just how much information they're actually collecting and storing in some cases for years you know these are very significant problems these are the types of issues that can do a democracy like ours. exactly what happened i don't know but a woman killed. piers later is when i got arrested. for a crime or did not do. we have numerous cases were police officers lie about polygraph results. people to consider. the police officers don't beat people
anymore i mean it just doesn't happen really. in the course of interrogation because there's been this is like no because the psychological techniques are more effective in obtaining confessions than physical abuse they were taking they could do what they wanted they can say what they wanted and there was no evidence of what they did or what they said. welcome back to worlds apart discussing the pros and cons of kind of. monica and irish member of parliament mr flanagan just before the break we touched upon the. rising alcohol consumption in this country and i know that there is a broader discussion here in ireland on possibly introducing
a minimum pricing war for alcohol as one of the ways of producing have it changing especially among younger people if such a proposal if such a bell was introduced before that doll what do you support something like that yeah i actually would and i have been a champion of the whole idea of trying to reduce our drink usage for the last fifteen or sixteen years i've always actually believed that. ties in with sports is the biggest contradiction of all time bush i actually do not think the government will take this seriously because when i started talking about this topic i didn't realize how unpopular is was the amount of people who told me i was wrong that sports needs out and you can't push up the price about was phenomenal and i would imagine that our government are hearing the same opinions and really what they're doing at the moment is pay commission to look for another year bush in reality
you've heard the phrase kicking the can. down the road this is a case of irish started kicking the guinness can down the road and not dealing with the issue because i think they were afraid to fail offend people and i'm of the opinion that a politician should be a signpost or not or whether being now i know that there have been a number of studies especially in canada showing that into decent floor or minimum pricing making the booze more expensive prove the really effective and curbing habit drinking in relation to cannabis how accessible how bailable do you think it should be would you support making it as expansive as possible to discourage people from using there would be a major problem with making us as expensive as possible because then the criminal markers would enter and where that tipping point combs they would enter so one thing that you have to be very careful about when legalizing cannabis is that the price is set at such
a level that people use the product that's been sold in the legitimate taxed economy and dash is very very important although the legislation would be pretty much pointless now but at the same time i know that your bill also mentions that some of the tax revenues that could be generated by cannabis could be used to fund drug addiction services medical research juvenile education courses and drugs so i assume the more revenues you get from cannabis the better it is the more service is of such so it's you can provide yeah but i mean those possibilities are infinite and back again to this old seesaw effect there culms a point where people were not. taxed economy so you have to set the price accordingly and that is really really important and that's something that will need to be done and all you have to do is look at what is now being proposed in your required where they have legalized cannabis they are talking about say the price of cannabis ash one dollar a program which would wipe out the criminal america or not. is there hope so you
think that it should be the government or some sort of. body governmental body that would be in charge of regulating and setting the prices or kind of is not necessarily on setting the prices that's what their suggestion to do when you are within my cannabis regulation been a there is a proposal there to set up a cannabis regulation authority which would regulate the sale would regulate packaging and would regulate the keeping out of licenses currently no one asked any permission to sell it and they don't care washy age the people that they're selling it to and in addition to your creating this cannabis regulation authority you also want to involve the ministry of justice in regulating and controlling the use of cannabis but i think all of that with require up wrong funding by the taxpayers and this is one of the areas where our land is very much constrained at the moment so before cannabis can generate any resources any revenues the implementation of your
proposal would require additional burden on the taxpayers they think they can handle do you think they will give that it an offer of a priority at this point of time well i always think it's a priority no matter how bad the finances are to put money into something that gets you more money back to ever come along and say i cannot afford to make money is the most ridiculous thing bush for the vast majority of people is in their number one priority is their priority are the finances of this state and it is inevitable that this will make his money within a very very short time and it is inevitable that we would be able to spend that money in order places whether that be providing medical care it's for the elderly or whether that be providing wark opportunities for the younger people in this country would make eminent sense unwashed for the startup costs would be it would be insignificant in comparison with the gains that would inevitably be made now in
the first part of the program it touched upon. some of the social and behavioral manifestations of the economic crisis haven't drinking as one example of that there is also another manifestation of that and in our land that i recently read about and this is a significant increase in prostitution you know people are turning to prostitution and supposedly somebody is also making money out of it now i know that you believe that decriminalization of cannabis will undermine the power of dealers but could that also produce an opposite effect because as we've just seen the market for for the booze for prostitution is growing and we can assume i think that the same is happening with all sorts of drugs both you know having drugs and recreational drugs so if you make even their recreational drug more accessible. more socially acceptable don't you think that is how to drive the momentum for hard
drugs as well while i actually would say should do quite the opposite because it would actually break any link that there will be there between cannabis and harder drugs because the only link currently is the fact that they're being sold a by the same people and actually instinctively one would see that usage would increase of cannabis once you legalized it well all you have to do is look at the netherlands in the midst one nine hundred seventy s. when they went down the road of tolerance which is a form of decriminalization the amount of people using the substance actually reduced now in the early increase push in line with international trains is actually didn't and you look at life time usage rates of cannabis for holland there in the region of twenty percent a place where you can openly buy if you look at the lifetime usage rates for cannabis in the united states of america and they're actually over forty percent would back again to the issue of character drug abuse if the link was there you
would expect that there was some sort. it's an epidemic in higher drug use in the netherlands because you can openly buy cannabis when in fact lifetime usage rates for cocaine for the netherlands are about one point eight percent they are sixteen point eight percent in the united states of america so if there is a link i think it's fairly obvious what the link is the link is criminality they have broken that link in the netherlands and they haven't broken it in the vast majority of the united states of america mr flanagan one distinction one difference that set aren't apart is that none of those countries that you just mentioned faces such a dramatic economic crisis and such a major social upheaval their rates of unemployment in this country are very high their rates of depression also very high a lot of people and the great in many families and breaking up well no more than no whether we should legalize cannabis or not the whole issue of us territory is the choosing of a particular government an article from and has chosen austerity or call from and
has chosen to hit the poor instead of the rich and today i don't think it would make any sense to punish these people even further by criminalizing them for using cannabis i call him from a political background where i would actually support helping the poor people in this country rather than helping the multimillionaires is which is what they have actually been doing and writing down the debts of one of our richest people in this country to the tune of tens of millions of euros while at the same time refusing to write down the debts of people who can't afford to pay their mortgage on their house we choose this i don't agree with that and i believe there's another way you just said that you don't want to penalize people but do you really think that something like this would really how to deal with that a lot well there if you got a criminal record for possession of cannabis and it was legalized it would obviously help you and if you use cannabis at the moment and you're in danger of
getting a criminal record for it how. to stash help your mental health in fact all that cannabis prohibition is persecute those who have norton negative impacts from its use and it does nothing to help the people who need help is actually just pushes them further into the management of society now you mentioned earlier international trance and the united states and i think the united states is very influential in terms of setting or influencing social trends all around the world and if you take these particular country the united states i mean back in nineteen sixty nine only sixteen percent of voters they're supportive legalization this year that is about fifty percent fifty eight percent in the last gallup poll so as you can paint for decriminalisation of cannabis in ireland do you see that as a mass to cause or as part of. i don't know broader international movement that we live in a very small world now because of communications and methods of travel so it is
a worry tissue and the fact that the united states of america probably one of the biggest opponents of repeating prohibition and legalization has actually in two states gone down the road of full legalization in washington and in colorado is a phenomenal change we also see a situation where they have legalized it for medical use in over twenty states we're looking at a situation next year where in california and several other states there will be a plebiscite to legalize it and it is predicted the shit will happen this is a massive sea change and i actually believe what they did to the united states of america also influenced the decision in your reply because we know that the united states whether we like it or not it's one of the masters on this planet and if they have a problem with it then it doesn't happen but the fact that it has happened within their own borders means stache older states and being given the green light to go ahead on this now it isn't just in the americas it's also in europe you see it in
barcelona you see it. station australia where she is illegal so really i think we are ready for legalization we are ready for regulation and for the first time i think art and could take the lead rather than being the puppy dog that follows the master but i wonder how far are you really. willing to take that because there are still countries where you can be executed for possession or our trade of cannabis china thailand singapore united arab emirates executed for a lot of other things too though as well so do you see that as part of the human rights campaign i mean are you willing to engage yourself in a debate when you would be pressing not only of war legalisation of cannabis in our land but can painting for they have meant of those punishments and say united arab emirates well look at what their own situation here first and we've seen with the
countries that easiest to solve what their countries that you mentioned there it's an even bigger problem and i would be opinion of the opinion that she's actually a human right to consume watch you want so long as it isn't harming others so this is actually a bigger issue and then kind of. the suffering that i have over my own body well mr flanagan our time is up thank you very much for your thoughts and if you like additional please join us again same place same plan here in the world the party. usually the new more than fifteen years old this one dates back twenty five.
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