Irish health minister supports plans to allow Irish farmers to grow medical cannabis
Nearly two years ago, the Irish Health Minister, Simon Harris, announced plans to establish a medical cannabis scheme in Ireland which would grant patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, nausea caused by chemotherapy and severe drug-resistant epilepsy access to medical cannabis.
Due to the lack of availability of cannabis-derived medical products in Ireland, the scheme has not yet completely started. The Irish government are still searching for a quality-assured medical cannabis supplier, but have not yet secured a supplier to export cannabis into Ireland.
Irish government officials have travelled to various EU countries, such as Denmark, in order to scope out quality cannabis suppliers and learn how other countries operate a medical cannabis scheme.
Irish grown cannabis
Since legislation, regulation, growing and testing of cannabis would take time, Ireland will first secure a supplier to import cannabis, as many patients require a medical cannabis supply as soon as possible – It’s already taken nearly two years just to secure a supplier.
Once the initial medical cannabis scheme is completely in place and working efficiently, Harris has said that the sensible option for Ireland to take would be to grow their own cannabis supply.
Irish farmers have recently been protesting outside stores such as M&S as they’re struggling to turn profits. Allowing Irish farmers to supply Ireland with medical cannabis would be economically beneficial for both the government and the farmers themselves.
“I think it could be an opportunity for Irish farmers in due course” Harris stated.
Does it make sense to grow your own in Ireland rather than be dependent on importing a product? I think, quite frankly, it does”
Irish farmers seem to support the plans too, and are open to discussions with Simon Harris – an IFA spokesperson told thejournal.ie;
“We note the minister’s comments with interest. Farmers always consider the merits of any potential diversification and we are open to meeting with the minister to discuss this matter, should he wish.”
Similar to mainland UK, the current medical cannabis scheme in Ireland does not mean steps are being taken for recreational cannabis legalization. Harris stated:
“This is not about recreational use and people smoking joints”
Recent developments in legalizing cannabis for medical use across the globe are looking increasingly positive. It seems Ireland will be taking further steps in 2019, and Simon Harris sounds keen to make it happen soon:
“This is a major priority for me and I really want to see this happen in 2019”
Not only would growing medical cannabis benefit all of the patients in Ireland who desperately require medical cannabis, but the country as a whole – once farmers are given the green light to grow cannabis, they may be able to start exporting it to other countries.
Although many people still believe cannabis should not be legalized for recreational use, the reasons which they give against legalizing have no backing. We strongly believe cannabis should be completely legalized to allow everyone the right to consume a plant, which has negligible risks. We’ve summarized the main misconceptions people have against cannabis use in this article. We also have an article which highlights the benefits of legalizing cannabis for recreational use in the UK.
Do you agree with Ireland looking to grow their own medical cannabis supply? Let us know in the comments below.