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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Questions on Promised Legislation (Resumed) [Medicinal cannabis].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Questions on Promised Legislation (Resumed) [Medicinal cannabis]. (07 Nov 2019)


Deputy Gino Kenny: Four months ago, the Misuse of Drugs (Prescription and Control of Supply of Cannabis for Medical Use) Regulations 2019 came into effect. For the first time, this gave Irish-based doctors the opportunity to prescribe medical cannabis products. Since then, nobody has been prescribed any products whatsoever. I received a text message from a woman in recent days. In it she said:

Hi Gino, just to say thank you so much for campaigning for medical cannabis as I am going through chemotherapy at the moment and will have to buy cannabis on the black market. It is the only thing that stops the sickness and horrible pain that goes through my bones. This is so, so, so wrong.


What is wrong about this is that the cannabis-based products that could be helping this woman and many others are actually imported into the State but nobody can access them. When will the medical cannabis access programme commence which will allow people get proper access and stop having to go to the black market or even worse have to go abroad for medical cannabis products?


Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I genuinely acknowledge Deputy Gino Kenny’s constructive involvement with this issue for some time. The Deputy will agree that nobody should ever have to go to the black market nor should we be promoting that in this House.


Deputy Gino Kenny: It is happening, however.


Deputy Simon Harris: As recently as yesterday, I signed a ministerial licence to grant cannabis to somebody. One needs a doctor to recommend it. The ministerial licence scheme is in place today. In my tenure as Minister for Health, I have signed well more than 20 licences for that. As to when the products will become available for the new compassionate access programme, six products have applied to the Health Products Regulatory Authority. Two of them are almost ready and I expect products to start flowing from that by the end of the year.


Deputy Gino Kenny: When?


Deputy Simon Harris: By the end of the year.

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