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MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan says he ‘vapes cannabis before going for a run’

The Roscommon man was speaking after Fine Gael Drugs Strategy Minister Hildegarde Naughton admitted she illegally smoked weed in Ireland while in her 20s.

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan. Photo: Tom Burke

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan has said that he grows his own cannabis and vapes it before he heads out for a run.

The Roscommon man took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the drug after Fine Gael Drugs Strategy Minister Hildegarde Naughton admitted she illegally smoked weed in Ireland while in her 20s.

Flanagan, a longtime campaigner of cannabis legislation, said that the current laws prohibiting cannabis possession have ruined people’s lives, adding that Minister Naughton may have ended up on a different career path had she been prosecuted.

“If @1Hildegarde had been prosecuted for her use of cannabis then she would not have become a teacher. I have on many many occasions been contacted by people in severe distress over an upcoming court case for cannabis possession. Real fear that their life & career will be over,” he said.

“Thousands who "tried cannabis" in their 20s received a criminal record for doing so. As a result they can never be a teacher, a nurse, a doctor, a social worker or take up many other professions. They are denied the right to travel to many countries including USA and Australia.”

Flanagan, who is based in Belgium where cannabis is legal, then told his followers that he enjoys vaping the herb and safely grows his own on his balcony.

He argued that using cannabis in a country where it is legal means he knows “exactly what I’m using” and said it means “zero money” is going to criminals.

He tweeted: “I vape cannabis. I enjoy it most before I go for a run. I grow it on my balcony here in Brussels. This year I am growing strains called Pineapple Kush and Shogun. Zero money going to criminals. Plus I know exactly what I'm using. What could possibly be wrong with that?”

His followers flocked to the comments section to agree with him, with one person writing: “Growing for personal use is the way to go. Don't have to worry about funding criminals, don't have to worry about adulterated or moldy weed.

“Ironically the only danger from this victimless crime is the guards busting through my door and ruining my life with a conviction”.

Another added: “Good man yer self Mr ming!! there ain't nothing wrong with it but there is an older generation of folks here in Ireland who have been brainwashed since they were nippers about the evils of drugs and unfortunately they just can't wrap their heads around the facts at all at all”.

Others pointed out that the drug was still illegal in Ireland and condemned him for promoting drug use on a public platform.

One user wrote: “That it’s illegal and you could get arrested maybe.”

Another said: “It's illegal you clown, and is addictive. How nice of you to advocate drug use to anyone (invluding minors) who reads your twitter feed.” (sic)

Flanagan’s comments come after Hildegarde Naughton said she “tried cannabis” in her 20s adding that “it wasn't for me” at a Fine Gael event organised to promote the Government’s cost of living package on Wednesday.

She said she has not tried cannabis since and said research shows people who experimented with the drug did not necessarily continue to use it.

Recently appointed Fine Gael Minister of State, Neale Richmond, said he tried cannabis while in Holland where it is legal to take the drug but said he had a “horrible experience”.

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe said he has not taken any illegal substances. Fine Gael Senators Barry Ward and Mary Seery Kearney also said they have not taken drugs.

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