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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 55 - Commencement of legislation [Cannabis] [4526/17].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 55 - Commencement of legislation [Cannabis] [4526/17]. (01 Feb 2017)

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55. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health if there has been engagement with the Department of Justice and Equality regarding those issues that are delaying the commencement date of tablet legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4526/17]


Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): The Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Act 2016 was passed by the Oireachtas on the 27th July 2016. Controlling the substances in the Act was part one of a two-step process and Regulations and various Orders are also required to allow legitimate users (e.g. patients with a prescription, health professionals) to possess the substances. Drafting of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations and Orders is complex and technical in nature and involved consultation with a number of State Agencies. However, since Autumn 2016 significant resources in the Medicines, Controlled Drugs and Pharmacy Unit within the Department have had to be allocated to drafting of the Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill and also dealing with various issues in relation to the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.


In December 2016, the Early Warning Emerging Trends Group, of which the Department of Justice is a member, were updated on the progress in relation to the Regulations.


Once the Regulations are finalised, under the Technical Standards Directive, Member States are required to inform the Commission of any new regulations or standards which may create a barrier to the free movement of goods. Since these draft Regulations have the potential to affect trade, in particular because of the introduction of a requirement for import licences, they must be notified to the EU whilst they are in draft and before they are adopted in national law.


Notified regulations are usually subject to a 3-month standstill period - to enable the Commission and the other Member States to examine the notified text and to respond appropriately. The Department intends to invoke an urgency procedure which can shorten the notification period to 10 days as the matter is considered to be related to the protection of public health or safety. If the Commission does not raise any objections the Regulations will be in order to be signed.

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