A Louth TD is pushing for cannabis to be legalised in certain situations

Ian Cameron

Reporter:

Ian Cameron

A Louth TD is pushing for cannabis to be legalised in certain situations

Cannabis is legalised for medical use in many jurisdictions.

Fine Gael TD for Louth, Fergus O’Dowd, has called for the legalisation of medical cannabis and welcomed Minister Simon Harris’ commitment to examine this issue in January.

“The legalisation of cannabis for medical use is something that has already been legislated for in a number of other jurisdictions, including Australia, Canada, 25 US States, Croatia and the Czech Republic.

“Meanwhile in the UK, a cross-party campaign is underway to legalise cannabis for medicinal use and to allow sick people to grow their own cannabis under licence. A study conducted by neurologist Professor Mike Barnes reviewed 20,000 studies going back to the 1960s and concluded that medical cannabis helps alleviate chronic pain, anxiety and muscle problems, particularly linked to multiple sclerosis and the side effects of chemotherapy.

“Here in Ireland it is something that a number of people are campaigning for, especially the parents of sick young children, who believe that it can reduce pain and help combat symptoms such as seizures.

“I welcome the fact that the Minister for Health Simon Harris has asked the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) to provide expert advice on this issue. The Minister has asked the HPRA to provide advice on:
- recent developments in the use of cannabis for medical purposes; in particular this should include: an overview of products that have been authorised in other jurisdictions; an overview of the wider on-going and emerging clinical research in new indications and evidence of efficacy
- an overview of the different regulatory regimes in place in countries which allow cannabis to be used for medicinal purposes
- legislative changes that would be required to allow use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in Ireland.

“The Oireachtas Health Committee is also due to examine the issue of cannabis for medical purposes later this month and Minister Harris has said he hopes to receive the report from the HPRA and the output from the Oireachtas Health Committee in January. I welcome the fact that Minister Harris has confirmed he will then be in a position to move forward with any legislative changes that may be recommended.”