Is he a herb?
Is he a plant?
No, he’s Johnny Green.
Mild-mannered JohnnyNYC by day.
Caped cannabis crusader by late afternoon.
The stoner we deserve.
Fake reefer news is his kryptonite.
Literally high flying.
You get the picture.
The science has been well settled, proved, tested, tested again, debated, argued, calculated, counted, and taxes returned.
There can be no more sneering at its potential, nor can the inevitable need for proper and honest legislation for Irish Weed be ignored.
Last week Solidarity People Before Profit’s Gino Kenny reintroduced medical cannabis into your news cycle, that was conveniently spun off by a dismissively immature response from your Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
So, the first question for Broadsheet readers to ponder on, was this the outcome of bad manners, or was it a deliberate strategic ploy
Slightly more than two years ago, Simon Harris, The Irish Health Minister announced that Ireland would create a medical cannabis programme for its patients who couldn’t be helped by the existing conventional treatment for their health conditions.
From April this year: The Irish Government revealed that it has finally identified and issued an import license to a Danish medical cannabis firm.The license was reportedly issued back in January.
My other questions for Broadsheet readers are;
Why was this initiative not launched into the public domain as aggressively as “Welfare Cheaters Cheat Us All”?
Why has the Media not opened it up and spread it out like a cheap carpet at a street market?
Why is Simon Harris not sharing the details of the license granted?
And why are all these discussions and inspections internal to his department?
While in my honest opinion I do not believe there to be any smoking gun here, certainly not the arsenal around a Rural Broadband Tender, but I am compelled again to ask: why the secrecy?
This column is not intended to promote one market over another, recreational over medicinal, but until it is widely prescribed and the cost of the alternatives, including the provision of front-line services are factored in, deciding on a valid and genuine figure could be reckless.
Obviously, we can only estimate the potential size of the Irish cannabis market; however, I work with cannabis growers and retailers in newly legalised markets, therefore I stand over my expertise and qualification to have some reasonableness to the following valuation.
Just this week a confirmed intake of one billion since the introduction of the legislation that legalised cannabis in Colorado (with a population of 5.5 million it provides a viable benchmark on this occasion.)
One billion in Revenue in its first five years. That is One Billion in a new, just out of the ground industry.
It is not inconceivable to any rational mind that domestic output and earnings in Ireland could match a similar value, with tourism activity alongside exporting to the EU; a market not available to the growers in Colorado, all on your own, and without the need for National Children’s Hospital level spend and timeline.
For the pedants circling this column, let me recreate a value per head to match the given example of Colorado’s experience.
$1,000,000,000 / 5,500,000 = 181.82 per person.
Yesterday’s count in the Republic of Ireland is 4,845,530 and yesterday’s US$ closing price .8899
4,845,530 x (.8899* 181.82) 161.80 = 784,006,754.00.
Or as Vanessa Foran might say 784 million yoyos.
Ireland already has it all to grow on a large industrial scale and export a simple Seed-to-Sale cannabis industry, like what the Irish Dairy Farmers achieved with “Kerrygold.”
All you are missing is the political will and vision, and the transparency that needs be demanded for what is comfortably a three quarters of billion euro industry, and an industry that can generate income within months of legalisation and with little investment, start-up costs, or the need for tax exemptions and grants; or those pesky KPMG reports.
It is for these reasons that I am being deliberately provocative about Simon Harris’ shyness with the licence granted to a Danish entity.
Irish Cannabis is a potential clean energy multi-million revenue industry, on its own, and at all levels of market participation.
Nor are the additional benefits of the mentioned medical treatment and prescription savings that the Irish State has proved again and again it is not capable of controlling, or fit to manage, to be underestimated and taken lightly.
Yet Simon Harris is given the charge of signing away Ireland’s chance of growing its own cannabis, selling its own produce, providing employment, extracting employment taxes, along with an Agri sector desperate for alternatives to beef and dairy farming.
This licence, even though the ink is dried, must be opened up to the public, and at the very least examined and questioned without restrictions by the Public Accounts Committee.
Everyone else seems to be watching what Simon Harris is doing, and here is my final question; why aren’t you?
Johnny Green will attempt to keep Broadsheet readers up-to-date on the growing cannabis industry worldwide. Follow Johnny here on twitter for updates.
Johnny Green illustration by Alan O’Regan