Lawmakers in Ireland are finally taking the time to look over legislation that would legalize the medical use of cannabis for patients with a number of chronic and debilitating conditions – similar to many states in the U.S. The bill was drafted by Ireland’s People Before Profit Group and it was presented to the Dáil Éireann, Ireland’s Lower House Parliament, where it was approved December 1st during the first round it will take through the government’s process.
The new legislation would allow medical marijuana for people who suffer from chronic pain, cancer, epilepsy, fibromyalgia and MS – however it is not yet finished. Minister of Health Simon Harris – who recently came forward to say that there would be consideration of medical marijuana after a dramatic act from a mother of a child with epilepsy – has said that he is in support of the bill, but that there needs to be amendments made before it goes on to the committee stage, where it will be reviewed once again before becoming law.
“While there are elements I do not and will not support, I don’t wish to divide the Dáil,” Harris said in a statement. “I share the concerns of patients who believe that cannabis should be a treatment option for certain medical conditions and I recognize the urgency and worry they feel.”
The Minister of Health has already asked Ireland’s Health Products Regulatory Authority to provide more information regarding the use and safety of medical marijuana – the organization has already come out in favor of this new bill passing before it even began circulating committees for approval. Other changes proposed by Harris are expected to ensure that the laws stay strictly for allowing medicinal use of marijuana and that it does not have any loopholes which could end up allowing full legalization.
Along with this newfound support in legislature, recent polls show that the entire country is very much in favor of allowing patients with certain conditions to access medical marijuana – with 92% in favor. While it is not guaranteed to pass, this bill does have a very strong chance of making it through and becoming law.