Ireland’s Health Minister has signed legislation allowing for 5-year pilot program for medical marijuana. Patients on the Emerald Isle, however, probably won’t be able to access medical marijuana until fall, Health Minister Simon Harris said in late June. He noted there were no procedures in place for importing medical cannabis until the final legislation was signed.
Ireland actually authorized work toward a medical marijuana access scheme back in 2017, and the Health Ministry took a lot of heat for taking 2 years to get the program off the ground. The Health Minster responded that it took time to find quality-assured suppliers willing to export to Ireland, according to a report in The Journal, a news site based in Ireland.
The legislation does not authorize the medical cannabis production in Ireland. Medical cannabis instead will be imported from qualified suppliers in other European countries by the Health Product Regulatory Authority. It will be made available to patients through pharmacies, and will be priced similar to other medications, The Journal reported.
The intent of Medical Cannabis Access Program “is to facilitate compassionate access to cannabis for medical reasons, where conventional treatment has failed.” It only authorizes medical professionals to prescribe cannabis for 3 specific conditions:
- Spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis,
- Nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy,
- Treatment-resistant epilepsy.
While this is a great step forward for medical cannabis, it doesn’t seem to be opening the door for recreational cannabis users. “[I]t is important to state that there are no plans to legalize cannabis in this country,” The Journal quoted Minister Harris as saying.