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Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Questions on promised legislation. [Medicinal cannabis]

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Questions on promised legislation. [Medicinal cannabis]. (18 Sep 2018)

Deputy Gino Kenny In July the Department of Health produced guidelines for the medicinal cannabis access programme which was first mooted in January 2017, almost 20 months ago. No progress has been made since. The guidelines have been welcomed by patients and doctors and provide some clarity in what is an extremely confusing situation for those who wish to access medicinal cannabis. I ask the Taoiseach to show leadership and say when the medicinal cannabis access programme will be implemented. No progress has been made since it was proposed 20 months ago. If it cannot be implemented, the Government should look to the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016 I put forward and which the majority of Members in this Dáil voted to progress in October last year. The Government must do one or the other. It must provide clarity for patients, doctors and others on whether the programme will be implemented.


The Taoiseach I understand from the Minister for Health, Deputy Simon Harris that people may apply to him for a licence under the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 to 2016 and the regulations and orders made thereunder. Guidance on who may apply for a licence under the Misuse of Drugs Acts, as well as instructions on how to apply, can be found on the website of the Department of Health. To date, ministerial licences have been issued for the treatment of nine patients on receipt of valid licence applications from their clinicians.


On the medicinal cannabis access programme, Department of Health officials are working intensively on the issue to ensure supply of appropriate medicinal cannabis products from other EU member states and further afield to meet the need of patients. However, the Department has no control over business decisions taken by product manufacturers and no powers to compel such companies to supply their products to the Irish market. Until cannabis product producers make their products available in Ireland, it will be a matter for the prescribing doctor and the patient to source the prescribed medical cannabis product. Clearly, that is unsatisfactory. However, it is understood patients who have been prescribed such products under ministerial licence have been able to source them from a pharmacy in the Netherlands.

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