High hopes for Bill to legalise cannabis use

by Ian Begley

A local TD has made calls to regulate cannabis for medicinal use, claiming Ireland is behind the times.
The bill “Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation 2016” was recently introduced in the Dail by Deputy Gino Kenny (PBP) who also called for the establishment of a cannabis regulation authority.
He said: “I’m very proud that we have submitted this bill before the Dail recess. Ireland is behind the times when it comes to matters like this.
“I hope we can have a real debate about the use of medical cannabis for medicinal purposes in Ireland. The bill calls for a cannabis regulation authority and distributors to be licensed.
“Many states in the US and now Europe have legislated for the medical benefits of medical cannabis for aggressive forms of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, cancer and chronic pain relief.”
The bill, which was was read out by party colleague Brid Smith, said it was an “intelligent and very worthwhile proposal”.
She described how she met with society representatives who cite cannabis oil as pain relief substance for people with Dravet syndrome – a severe form of epilepsy.
“The second group, who I know from living in Ballyfermot, are the MS sufferers. The cannabis oil helps alleviate the nausea, pain, that go with MS.
“Legalising cannabis is an issue that receives strong support online, with many seeing the benefits it can provide for sick patients and also as a revenue earner, but no Irish government to date has seriously contemplated the possibility,” she said.
Sandra Mullen, co-ordinator of the Clondalkin Drugs Task Force, told The Gazette that the matter is a very complex issue and won’t be able to come up with an official position on the bill until it is discussed in depth.
“In terms of legalising cannabis for medical use the drugs task force would have to explore and discuss the matter thoroughly.
“There are lots of different approaches required. It’s not as straightforward as simply making something legal for medical purposes. There are all sorts of implications and consequences in that.
“How do you regulate cannabis and how do you make sure it’s only used for medical purposes? These are the things that need to be discussed,” she said.
This is not the first time when the call for a more liberal approach towards drug use was proposed by a Dublin Mid-West representative.
Last year, local Cllr Francis Timmons (Ind) called for all drugs to be decriminalised and that people found with drugs for personal use should be free from criminal conviction.
Timmons believes that those found with drugs for personal use should be given a warning, a fine or be directed to drug awareness classes for treatment.

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