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[Irish Independent] , Kelly, Fiach Medicinal cannabis available here in the next year. (01 Dec 2012)

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THE legal use of cannabis in medicines is to be introduced next year.

The Irish Independent has learned that the Department of Health is bringing in legislation to legalise medicinal cannabis.

The move follows applications from drugs companies to sell cannabis-based medicines in Ireland.

However, a spokesperson for the department stressed that the change would not apply to recreational use of the drug.

Many countries allow medicinal cannabis for the treatment of illnesses such as multiple sclerosis.

Irish law rules out even medicinal cannabis, except for research, but the Government has taken a different approach from the previous administration, when former health minister Mary Harney was reluctant to loosen controls.

Recently resigned junior health minister Roisin Shortall said last year she was examining proposals to make cannabis-based medicines available.

That is now proceeding, with the Irish Medicines Board having received a request from a manufacturer looking for permission to sell medicines containing the drug.

The Department of Health spokesperson said legislation would be brought forward early next year to facilitate this.

Under the 1977 Misuse of Drugs Act, the manufacture, production, preparation, sale, supply, distribution and possession of cannabis or cannabis-based medicinal products is unlawful except for the purposes of research.

But this will change to allow some medicinal products.


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